Practice Area




Project Vision

At Olson, connection is all that counts. For creativity to become contagious, it must first be human. Slated to be the largest advertising agency in Minneapolis, the rapidly expanding Olson enlisted Gensler to interpret its strategies for a design solution structured on Olson Brand Anthropology. Olson secured 125,000 square feet within Minneapolis’s historic Ford Center building, and the design team was tasked with allowing the industrial character to shine through.

A focus on client hospitality stands at the forefront of Olson’s objectives. Together, Olson and the Gensler team developed new strategies for an energized and comprehensive client experience. This includes Brand Rooms dedicated to key clients, client-focused food and beverage services, and integrated display systems that recognize visitors and boast Olson’s brand anthropology studies.

Flexibility and personalization are of the utmost importance within a growing office space for creative individuals. The Gensler team introduced Olson to an open office systems furniture solution based on a kit-of-parts that can support both collaborative and focused workgroups. As project teams and departments grow and evolve, Olson will have the ability to easily reconfigure storage components and work surfaces to meet the needs of each individual, while incorporating ample collaborative meeting spaces throughout. Sustainable reclaimed and industrial materials connect the space to the rich history of the building, while an eclectic mix of found objects reflects the variety of individuals, clients, and processes within the Olson agencies. Environmental graphics support and further the architectural concept, becoming as essential to the experience as the walls they’re attached to. The designer’s partnership is leading Olson to enhance connections and strengthen their position as the creative advertising leaders in Minneapolis and beyond.

Project Details
Branding coupled with a stimulating work environment. The commissioning of art for wall graphics was much appreciated.
Juror 1
A workplace environment that reflects the culture and nature of its employees. A relaxed, informal, and creative environment is created through bold yet sensitive insertions within the existing historic warehouse building. Innovative use of super graphics enliven the primary public spaces of the building, whilst continuing to respect the building’s heritage and context.
Juror 2
The integrated graphics program is muscular and courageously aggressive. From a fragmented mirror wall in a stairwell to large-scale floor numbers created out of multicolored strings, the expressive moments of color and graphics speak to the bold personality of this firm.
Juror 3
This project stood out not just from the creative design solutions, but from how well it communicated the brand to Olson's various audience groups of employees, clients, and community members.
Juror 4
Design Team

Bill Lyons (principal in charge), Betsy Vohs (project manager), Amy Barthel (graphic design, illustration, signage), Jason Hall (design director), Beth Nist (interior design) Beth Mosenthal (interior design), Kate Levine (project architect), Mark Spencer (technical director)

Design Firm


Project Area

125,000 sq. ft.


Hunt Electric (lighting design, electrical engineer), Artifex Millwork (millwork contractor), McGrath (metal fabricator), RJM (general construction), Americom (AV, technology), BKBM (structural engineer), Jones Lang LaSalle (real estate), Nelson Tietz & Hoye (Owner’s representative)


SDDI (fabrication and installation of signage and wayfinding), Pictura (vinyl graphics), RJM (general contractor) Mirror Wall (paint), Danica Alder (string artist), Sunrise Painting & Wallcovering, Inc. (painting contractor)