ROLU: 100 Creatives

ROLU: 100 Creatives
Matt Olson (behind the camera), Mike Brady (with phone), and Sammie Warren (to the right)

Number 46: ROLU, a.k.a. rosenlof/lucas (ro/lu). We are Matt Olson, Mike Brady, and Sammie Warren.

City: Minneapolis

Years spent living in MN: It varies... 82 is the minimum.

For some creative types, the difference between an art gallery and a home is not much of a leap. This is most likely the case with ROLU, a design studio that specializes in residential landscaping, urban planning, public art, and modern, functional pieces for the home. The group was founded in 2003 by Matt Olson and Mike Brady, and since that time they've been hard at work designing geometric chairs and tables, creating urban lawns that manage to have personal touches while being sparsely simple, hanging out with Michael Stipe at New York galleries, and designing a bookstore in Greece.

ROLU: 100 Creatives
ROLU for Wright 21, After UR [Magnetic Superbox]

Name three things inspiring your work right now:

1. Guy de Cointet's set designs

2. Ettore Sottsass

3. Our friends and families

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

1. Indie/punk rock and its related DIY culture

2. Contemporary art

3. Our friends and families

What was your last big project?

 designed a bookstore in Greece called OMMU.

In October, we installed a two-mile-long by five-feet-wide strip of white fabric on the ground of a dry lake bed in Joshua Tree, CA. It was part of High Desert Test Site, a program of outdoor, experimental projects initiated by the artist Andrea Zittel (one of our faves!). The perfectly straight line stretched out long through the flat space, and went past the limits of site and sight by traveling up and over the mountain, which established the horizon line. Ten structural tents of varying scale were built into the line, and participants were invited to, in a sense, enter the line. The work, titled Here There, There Here, is a collaboration with WELCOME PROJECTS, a Los Angeles based architecture and design studio.

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that
should be on our radar?

We'll be showing a new work, After U.R. (A Magnetic Superbox) in the exhibition "Truth In Form, Reason For Being" at Wright 21 in Chicago.

We'll also be celebrating the re-opening of OMMU, a bookstore we designed, in Athens, Greece.

Creative/career high point (so far)?

We are grateful and fortunate to say it was hard to pick!

Part 1: Hanging out with Michael Stipe at the opening of "The Nightstands at Phillips de Pury" in NYC. Ten artists/designers were commissioned by the architecture magazine PIN-UP to create a nightstand. Michael Stipe asked to be involved after seeing ours as he wanted to design one too.  Some of our favorite folks were involved, and we were super honored to be in such good company. But the cool thing? We made one of our favorite works yet, called Minne - Ettore. It's an homage to our hometown, and our hero Ettore Sottsass.

Part 2: The night before the opening discussed in Part 1, we had another opening in NYC where we showed new works called PRIMARILY/PRIMARY (after Carol Bove, Scott Burton, and Sol Le Witt). We were having a fantastic evening, and our work was well received, but it was when Parks and Rec star Aziz Ansari showed up that the pleasantness was pushed to the surreal level. We also learned that these new works would be issued in an edition of six through Phillips de Pury, which made us very happy.

What has been your biggest challenge as a creative type?

Trusting in our ideas.

ROLU: 100 Creatives
Nightstand and surface chair for PIN-UP Magazine

How has the Minnesota scene changed since you began working here?

We don't really ever consider the scene.

Name another local creative type that you're currently excited about:

Eric Timothy Carlson, Annie Larson, David Petersen and John Marks, John Fleischer, Chris Larson, Bruce Tapola, Alex DeArmond, Stephanie DeArmond, Rube Nusz, Scott Nedrelow, Emmet Byrne, Andy Sturtevant, Peter Haakon Thompson, Piotr Shylzeski, Steve Dietz, Sam Gould/Red 76, Works Progress, Vanessa Voskuil, Marcus Young, Matthew Rezac, Scott McGlassen, Michael Beasley, Brock Davis, Dylan Hicks, Paul Schmelzer, Rich Barlow, Ross Altheimer, Sam Hoolihan... and we could keep going for hours!  We're excited in general, and we didn't even start listing from the music category!

Is there a trend in landscape or furniture design that drives you
mad/think is overrated? How about innovations that are underrated?

Joy and enthusiasm seem to be underrated.

See what else ROLU has been up to at

Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis
99. Sean Smuda
98. Chuck U
96. Amy Rice
95. Kara Hendershot

70. Tim Sievert
67. Dessa
66. Heidi Arneson
65. Erin Currie
64. Jayme Halbritter
63. Amy Buchanan
62. Kimberly Jurek
61. Kenna-Camara Cottman
60. Joan Vorderbruggen
59. Amber Preston
58. Jenny Carle
57. Mad King Thomas
56. George Moskal
55. Gregory Euclide
54. Stacy Schwartz
53. Joshua English Scrimshaw
52. Courtney McLean
50. Andy Sturdevant
49. Erika Backberg
47. Emily J. Snyder of Queen Quills Calligraphy

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