On May 18, architect firm SO-IL will release their new book ‘Solid Objectives…: Order, Edge, Aura’ with Lars Muller Publishers. This book introduces an attitude towards the design and realization of architecture in a time of increased instability. It is illustrated with rarely seen images and punctuated with essays on the work of the firm SO–IL. Rather than a catalog of works, the book is a visual and textual manifesto towards progressive practice in an interconnected and global environment. As a collection of built and unbuilt projects, texts, processes, and experiments, it embodies an intellectual and artistic attitude that has gained this young office attention. Taking the form of a radical monograph, the book curates the firm’s content based on conceptual themes, allowing the reader to have a generous, multi-dimensional and immersive experience, similar to how one would experience SO–IL’s architecture.
The design of interiors has come to embody a line of egocentric thoughts. It purports to put our body—and possibly even our soul and individualistic existence—at its center. Womb-like sensations arise, promising warmth, safety, and other prenatal comforts. How do we sufficiently swaddle or cushion the self for it to survive our savage reality? The interior becomes a pure haven for the spirit, something that seems increasingly public. We create mobile cocoons, shielding ourselves with screens, headsets, and blank stares. We eschew or minimize contact with others. Absurdly, even though technology has seemingly brought the outside world in, our devices have diminished points of contact with it. The public realm is contained, compressed, and trapped behind thinner and thinner layers of glass. The exterior is powered up or down with the swipe of a finger.
While this notion of interior design evokes thoughts of monastic disconnection, of dwelling in a shielded totality, we would like to consider its opposite: the interior as a locus for a new collective condition, an inside that fosters exchange. After all, it is mostly in the perceived comfort of our interiors that we let our guards down and allow for connections to occur. Up until modernity, humanity experienced its interiors—even those of the dwelling—as a public domain. The living room was a place for conflict and exchange. Even our beds were shared. Given this, let us regard the interior not as a space created by protective surfaces and moods, but rather as a porous field defined by realms and structures. Otherness will trickle in and a productive contamination will ensue.
Idenburg is a Dutch architect and co-founder of the award-winning architectural design firm SO-IL in New York City. Idenburg studied architecture at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, receiving a master’s degree in 1999. From 2000 to 2007, Idenburg served as Associate at SANAA, where he was in charge of the design and realization of two internationally acclaimed museums (the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York).
SO–IL is an award winning architectural design firm that envisions spaces for culture, learning and innovation. From their offices in New York, SO–IL partakes in the production of buildings, interiors, furniture and landscapes around the world. As a collective of diverse thinkers and makers, the office engages with the ever changing social, economic and natural environment through active dialogue that considers context, function, and opportunity. SO–IL believes that physical structures have the power to offer a sense of wonder and place. They serve as platforms of exchange, and create generous, sensorial and visceral experiences.
SO–IL’s work is marked by a strong direction and purpose while leaving space for interpretation, change, and transformation. Every structure creates moments of contemplation and energetic engagement. Beauty and clarity in forms and surfaces are core to SO–IL’s practice. To achieve this vision, the office uses advanced digital tools in combination with traditional craft, model-making, physical testing, mock-ups and material innovation.