Tom Kundig +The House that Jack Built

General / People / Places / January 29, 2014

The last time Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects and entrepreneur Greg Lundgren collaborated creatively, the result was “The Final Turn,” a funerary urn in the shape of a perfect sphere.

This time around, their ambitions are turning toward a livelier vision for the arts in Seattle.

Lundgren’s owned two galleries in town and another in Venice Beach, along with restaurants, clubs and a monument business. Now he’s executive director of Walden 3, the proposed arts center for downtown, right across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. And since it’s seeking investors, Walden 3 is now home to a cutting-edge website and blog.

That’s where Olson Kundig and its Outpost division for three-dimensional renderings comes in.

“It gave Outpost the opportunity to show what it’s capable of in the digital realm,” he says. “Our art is fiction and they’re able to use their technology for it.”

They collaborated to illustrate a work of fiction by Jack Daws called The House that Jack Built, one that knits together the separate worlds of art and architecture. It’s Daws’ firsthand account of his efforts to build a cabin in the middle of Walden Pond, only to have a freight train loaded with toxic chemicals plunge into its waters.  

It’s also the inaugural project for Itinerant Projects, Olson Kundig’s new program of collaborative installations that explores the nexus of design, culture and social practice through a series of site-specific installations. Itinerant Projects is the newest evolution of Olson Kundig [storefront], which debuted downtown in 2011.

“Tom Kundig was interested in exploring the idea of what is real and what is not real,” he says. “He was interested in the duplicity of art and architecture and how they intertwine with each other.”

That’s seems self-evident in one particular image from the project – depicting Kundig throwing a mean right at Daws.

It’s all for a good cause, though. Lundgren’s set a goal of raising $10 million in working capital to fund Walden 3 over the next decade. The way he sees it, Seattle’s got a thriving creative community, and it’s time for the rest of the world to know.

“It spans all disciplines, and it’s off the radar and unrecognized,” he says. “Los Angeles thrives on 80 percent ambition and 20 percent talent, but Seattle’s just the opposite.”

The new exhibition is a walking example of that.

For more information, go to http://www.w3seattle.com/

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Michael Welton




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