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Olins, Wally. (13 of 19). The Oral History of Wolff-Olins

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  • Recording date

    2001-11-05, 2001-12-14

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Oral History of Wolff Olins

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Reading

  • Interviewees

    Olins, Wally, 1930-2014 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 13: Wally Olins [WO] describes Jimmy Main [JM] and his impact on Main Wolff [MW]. Talks about process of taking the company into Michael Wolff's and his ownership buying JM out of the company and the property. WO tells anecdote about MW and himself in respect of what was to be their working relationship. Expands on this and the effect of MW leaving the company in 1983 as well as how he acted within Wolff-Olins in a way that was not always productive. Lists MW's positive attributes including his ability to pick interesting people for the company, going on to describe the productive power they were able to generate when working together in the early days. WO goes on to describe Jane Scruton's [JS] role in the company as an essential backroom operator. Reflects on early sharing of company's equity between himself, MW and JS again exposing the complexity of the work relationship between the three of them. Mentions the problems of MW's being involved in EST. Goes back to how MW and he built up Wolff-Olins together and the approach they used to grow jobs. Talking about identifying but not always being able to articulate what they meant by corporate identity. Goes on to discuss BOC job and how important it was as a learning opportunity in terms of the fuller possibilities for corporate identity. Discusses his early desire to expand into Europe linked to his desire for the company to be the best. Returns to disillusionment with MW's behaviour that led to his being asked to leave the company.

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