Seattle-based architects Olson Kundig have opened their "Outpost Basel" pavilion for the Collectors Lounge at Design Miami/Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Incorporating materials and cultural elements from America, Japan, Austria, and Romania, the pavilion is a “high-design space made from everyday materials,” with a design centered on the idea of contrast, much like the concept of yin-yang. Different levels of lighting, material colors, and uses of space are contrasted with balance in order to create a functional, flexible meeting and gathering space.
As visitors approach Outpost Basel from a distance on the west side, the structure seems like a simple, dark cube, but upon closer examination, a more complex structural design and textures become visible.
Guests enter the Outpost through a rolling, iron-wheeled “X” door, which opens to reveal the gracefully energized interior of lounge and restaurant spaces, which will feature music from Seattle radio station KEXP, in addition to an “interactive projection-mapped digital installation” by Seattle-based media artists Glymmer. Glymmer’s installation involves three cameras that track the speed of visitors’ movements in the space and change the colored light projections accordingly.
The entirety of Outpost Basel itself is composed of two bordering pieces: “one semi-open space and one taller solid box made of wood bricks.” The exterior of the building is covered in an X-shaped pattern in tribute to the Tenth Anniversary of Design Miami/ Basel.
The cube portion of the exterior was finished using the ancient Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique, which, through an intensive wood burning process, gave the bricks their dark, deep hue. Kundig worked with Austrian wood processing company Schweighofer to create the unique bricks, as well as to repurpose structural elements for the interior, which the firm has done in the past.
“We each carry many influences with us—both my parents are Swiss, although I am American. With Outpost, I wanted to explore this idea through bringing different elements together in Basel," said designer Tom Kundig. "I like to mix old techniques and robust materials with innovative methods of making, so there will be crafted ironwork from Seattle, and amazing wood from Austrian firm Schweighofer.”
Outpost Basel is set to host “a variety of activities, including the Design Talks, a series of panel and one-on-one discussions with the leading lights of the design world.” Learn more about the pavilion here.
News via Olson Kundig Architects.