Outpost Basel brings together diverse geographic, material and cultural elements from America, Japan, Austria, and Romania to create a high-design space made from everyday materials.
Tom Kundig plays with the idea of being an outsider, bringing a collection of highly contrasting influences and functions, which he unifies to make a harmonious and inspirational space. An idea of yin-yang will run throughout, shown through the interplay of shaded and well-lit areas, dark and light materials, as well as space for refuge and for being seen. The result will be an enjoyable retreat in which to reflect on the design fair, meet friends or just relax.
From a distance, Outpost Basel will appear to be a simple dark cube at the west point of the exhibition hall, playing a subtle role within the vast Messe Halle. But as visitors walk closer, they will see the textures and complexity of the structural design. Guests will be welcomed by hosts, dressed in apparel provided by Pleats Please Issey Miyake, who will invite them into the vibrant inner sanctum of lounge and restaurant areas. Inside the lounge guests will find an interactive projection-mapped digital installation created by Seattle-based media artists Glymmer.
Kundig works with commodity materials to create this high-design space from re-purposed￼ structural elements, in a continuation of his love of ‘hot-rodding’. These include wood formwork and bricks generously supplied by innovative Austrian company Schweighofer. Two distinct adjoining volumes, one semi-open space and one a taller solid box made of wood bricks, together form Outpost. A tribute to the 10th Anniversary of Design Miami/ Basel in the form of a repeated X- shaped pattern will wrap the exterior of Outpost Basel.
The wooden bricks that form the cube structure of Outpost Basel will be finished using the ancient Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique, a woodburning method traditionally used to protect from rot and insects. The labor-intensive process involves charring, cooling, cleaning and finishing the wood with natural oils, which ultimately gives it a rich black hue. For Outpost Basel, Kundig chose to use Shou Sugi Ban for its aesthetic effect and worked closely with Schweighofer, who applied the technique on-site at one of their specialist factories in Romania.
The design of Outpost Basel is adventurous yet grounded, the interiors both intricate and bold. The innovative use of space in the Collectors Lounge allows Outpost to play host to 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; a bar serving fine champagne from Perrier-Jouët and a restaurant where guests can regroup and refuel before continuing their exploration of the fair. Music in the lounge will be provided by Seattle radio station KEXP.ORG. Collectors will be able to work, talk and relax in Outpost Basel, experiencing a microcosm of the Olson Kundig world, and the distinctive design approach of Tom Kundig.