A recent visit to Whistler, British Columbia reminded me about my first-hand experience with the Olympics. I / Konzuk was invited and short listed by the Olympic Committee to design the 2010 Winter Olympic medals.
I put my best effort forward and submitted to their request for proposal. You know, the who you are, what you do, and why questions. Even though they must have known who I was considering I was personally invited to participate. Nonetheless I placed second. I guess that’s silver. At least their selection was someone whose design I respect, Omer Abel. You might know him as the designer of the Bocci light. The ones you see everywhere — deservingly so.
So why do I think I wasn’t selected? Well, I am pretty introverted. That makes me less than a great public speaker. And if I point back to one thing in the whole process it was my interview with the committee when they asked if I work with others. I misunderstood the question. I have employed studio assistances. But no I said, my designs are mine — they reflect my desire for a balance of simplicity and uniqueness. In hindsight, and seeing the First Nations contribution to medal design — this wasn’t what they were asking. They wanted to know if I was open to collaboration. Duh, of course I am open to collaboration. I love how designers / brands are collaborating to create unique spin-offs of their combined brands. I would welcome that opportunity!
So, would I have proposed using concrete? Maybe, but not likely. The designs would have been more in context of the traditional materials, the iconic landscape of British Columbia / Canada, or the Olympic Games themselves. If anything the two new collections I am working on right now are inspired from the Olympic medals. Funny how after these many years this amazing experience is just starting to come through into my work.
I guess that’s why if I was asked whether or not my recent trip to Whistler inspired new designs I would hesitate to say no. Who knows what or when experiences will influence us.