Fairy Tales 2016 Competition Winner: Olson Kundig

The results of the 3rd Blank Space Fairy Tales are in! The jury selected the top three submissions from a pool of thousands from 67 countries, and from what I’ve been told, the competition was especially close this year! The esteemed jury included Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Elizabeth Diller, Allison Arieff, Bradford Shellhammer, Daniel Simon, Dror Benshetrit, Sylvia Lavin, Cristina Goberna, Aaron Betsky, Alexander Walter, Robert McKee, David Basulto, Becky Quintal, Matthew Hoffman and Francesca Giuliani.

You may already know the name Olson Kundig because we’ve featured some of their projects were on Design Milk in the past. Well, they’re also now winners of this year’s Fairy Tales with their gripping sci-fi narrative called “Welcome to the Fifth Façade,” which was accompanied by dream-like illustrations of structures inside silhouettes. Congrats the the Seattle team of Alan Maskin, Jerome Tryon, Kevin Scott, Gabriela Frank & Katie Miller!



Here’s an excerpt:

“For patients re-entering alone, we encourage them to return to where they last lived – to be surrounded by elements that we hope will feel familiar and foster memory recall.”

And what exactly do I remember? I have memories of a childhood that I assume was mine. I remember nothing during the freeze. Lately, I’ve started to notice that I remember things that happened yesterday, the day before that and so on.

My headset provided me with instructional video and directional guidance graphics as a layer of visual information superimposed over my view of the world. It showed me how to take public transportation, how to find and pay for food and how to find sleep centers. It woke me each morning, explained who passersby were and offered advice whenever I was puzzled. They made it feel like these were my choices.


Second Place was awarded to “Parisian Lullaby” by architecture student Hagai Ben Naim, whose overwhelmingly cluttered black and white cartoonish illustrations reminds me a bit of Keith Haring. The satirical narrative discusses a park in Paris that keeps secrets behind locked doors at night.


Third Place went to architecture student Kobi Logendrarajah’s story “12 Nautical Miles”, a 5-part story about black market dealings in an unconventional place: an oil rig in international waters.

The Jury also awarded 10 honorable mentions: Sean Cottengim & Alex Gormley; Scott Lindberg & Katherine Nesse; Rubin Quarcoopome; Liao Hung Kai & Huang Hsiao Rou; Patch Dobson-Pérez; Nicola Chan, Nikolas Kourtis & Pui Quan Choi; Kostis Ktistakis; Will Fu; Mark Morris & Neil Spiller; and Olalekan Jeyifous. See more on the Black Space Project website.


The winners and honorable mentions will be featured in Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells a Story Volume 3, which you can pre-order at

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.