As a firm which has already won major awards, worked on culturally significant projects on a large scale, and generally achieved substantial success and recognition in just over 10 years, SO-IL seem to straddle a line between being an “emerging” and an “established” practice. Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu founded SO-IL (Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu) in 2008 and have since gained a reputation for modern, clean-lined designs, but often with a unique material twist.
Resisting the formalism popular in architecture today, SO-IL instead focuses on a rational, stripped-down, essentialist approach to designing space. Therefore they don’t necessarily have a recognizable or consistent style between projects, but rather a cohesive atmosphere of openness and simplicity.
Liu and Idenburg both prefer to seek projects that allow them freedom to experiment and clients who are willing to take risks. “We’re very attracted to projects with a public component and to clients who want to think about the future,” expresses Liu.
SO-IL’s current project, the Chow Tai Fook (CTF) Museum in Hong Kong, is tucked within an existing development by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). The convex glass envelope slices through the middle of the complex, comprised of 475 custom-made 30-foot-tall glass tubes. Each glass tube had to be tested to ensure its curves were tight enough and that it was structurally sound, a process that took over eight months to resolve.
A commitment to craft becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as the firm’s projects grow in scale. The firm itself has also had to adjust in recent years as it transitions out of its initial start-up mentality. While admitting to the challenges, Liu and Idenburg see this phase as an opportunity for growth and experimentation.
This Article was originally published on Metropolismag.com.