Olson Kundig is a full-service design firm whose work includes residences (often for art collectors), museums and exhibition design, hospitality projects, commercial design, academic buildings, interior design, landscape design, and places of worship.
The firm is led by five owners—Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray, Alan Maskin, and Kevin Kudo-King—who are supported by eleven principals, fifteen associates, and a staff of approximately 140 in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of downtown Seattle. The firm opened a workspace in New York in 2014 to better serve its expanding roster of East Coast and international clients. The in-house interiors studio, founded in 2000, provides a full range of services, including material selection, custom furniture design, and purchasing capabilities. The landscape design studio provides in-house design services dedicated to artfully integrating nature and the built environment.
The firm began its creative existence in 1966 with the architect Jim Olson, whose work at that time centered on explorations of the relationship between dwellings and the landscapes they inhabit. Olson started the firm based on the essential ideas that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture, histories, and people, and that inspiring surroundings have a positive effect on people’s lives.
Over the five decades of its existence, the firm has grown and broadened its expertise far beyond the residences for which it is still best known. It consciously devotes a consistent energy and enthusiasm to every project, no matter whether the task at hand is a cabin in the woods or a high-rise in Seoul. Every finished project manifests a “macro to micro” level of attention, from the big ideas to the smallest details, giving coherence to the entire experience of the built site.
The geographical scope of the work has grown to cover more than fifteen countries on five continents, in locations ranging from the rural landscapes of Montana and Idaho to dense urban contexts in Manhattan and Mumbai. But no matter the situation, the same philosophies—for instance a careful consideration of the environment, attunement to local materials and culture, and seeking out the expertise and contributions of craftspeople, artists, and other outside experts—continue to apply to each new undertaking.