SAM Talks – Jim Olson


Last night I took the other three Interior Design seniors in my class to the Seattle Art Museum for a presentation given by Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects (formerly Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen).  It was about Jim, and many of the houses he has designed, especially for art collectors.  I had the chance to visit one of these houses that also has an amazing 20th Century modern art collection and it was truly a gem.  Being able to hear him speak about what drives him as an architect (ultimately, nature) and his perspective on interiors, which he also pays a lot of attention to, was invaluable.  It was also reinvigorating in terms of feeling a little worn down as I’m approaching the final curve of my BFA program.  We’ve heard a lot about commercial design and looked at a lot of pictures of supercool skyscrapers in our classes, but I haven’t had an experience like this from any of my instructors yet where we really just looked at homes.  They have such a different, more intimate feel, even these large homes built to house fabulous collections.  Mr. Olson, at least, believes that these intimate moments are important, and his houses reflect that.  There is a balance between larger spaces and smaller points of gathering. 


The event was sponsored by Adobe and of course there were copies of his new book on sale (see image below) in conjunction with the University Bookstore.  There was also a reception afterward and I really enjoyed hearing what my fellow students thought of the presentation as we drank wine and munched on hors d’oeuvres.  They also seemed to be inspired by what they saw and I think we’re heading in to class this morning a little more excited than we would have been. 


I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future as I’m getting ready to graduate and while I don’t necessarily believe, at this point, I would want to embark on any sort of “traditional” interior design career, I’m still really glad that I’ve gone through the program.  The last four-five years of my life have been transitional for a number of reasons and school has been a big part of that.  I’m very thankful to have been able to have this time to grow into myself and whatever the future holds for me, I’m ready to participate fully. 




Study Model


Just wanted to share a couple views of a study model I was making while thinking about my thesis project.  I figured that instead of creating a design for an exhibition space that I might as well design an actual installation for my BFA exhibit.  Makes sense, right?  I’ve got some ideas on what it might end up being and so I was trying to explore the relationship between an organic object and a very geometric surrounding in my model, as well as get a sense of transparency/permeability in the object itself.





Back to BFA Thesis


Some family issues have kept me from blogging for a while and I figured it was time I started refocusing on getting back to my BFA project.  Last week I had to give my 5th week review to a panel that included four of my previous instructors.  It actually ended up going really well, so I was very happy about that!  Even if I don’t have the content of what I’m doing as hashed out as I’d like, I’ve done a lot of research and have lots of information to work with.  At this point, it is likely just a matter of continuing to refine my idea and starting to determine what tasks I need to begin doing in order to be where I need to when the show opens in ten weeks. 


In putting together my presentation last week, I did come across a few images of things to think about.  One of them was a shot of an area in the Seattle Art Museum’s Native Galleries from back in 1992 when the museum first opened up downtown.  Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen was involved in the exhibition design and I feel like this image makes the objects look a lot more accessible than they do in the current SAM Native Galleries.  Not that it was perfect or anything, but it doesn’t come across as sterile as the current galleries do. 


OSKA native art