Lecture Recap :: Florian Idenburg


photo from so-il.org
By: Curtis Robinson, BArch Candidate

The third lecture in the Spring 2013 Student Lecture Series was presented by Florian Idenburg, co-founder and principal of SO-IL.     SO-IL is based in Brooklyn, New York, and though it is a small firm it is known globally and has produced different types of work in different parts of the world.

photo from hermanmiller.com
Idenburg went over three different types of projects that take place in three very different parts of the world. The first project (the most local) was a temporary structure designed for the courtyard of MOMA PS 1. The firm was really interested in attempting to understand how people interact in the virtual world and how that can translate into an interactive design. This idea of interactive design, turned into a flexible structure. The difficult part of this project was finding materials that would be safe to use in such busy and public space. After testing many different materials, the structure was constructed. Once the structure was finished showing, all parts were recycled for other projects throughout New York and elsewhere.

photo from so-il.org
The second project he shared, was a competition entry for a renovation of an exhibit space built in 1958 for Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Belgium. The design firm took the traditional plan of a museum and gave it an update. Indenburg discussed how the firm wanted to create flexible spaces for the museum and wanted to create a different type of experience for visitors by allowing them to explore the way they want too. The entries to the exhibits were all moved to the corners of the wall where they would intersect with other gallery spaces. This creates a large open intersection and allows for the users of the space to pick their route through out the museum. Though the design was smart and different - it received second place.

photo from archinect.com
The final project Idenburg presented was one that he seemed most excited about. This client of this project was Kukje Art Center in Seoul, South Korea. The existing conditions consisted of two buildings that had short ceilings, columns in the center of exhibit space and just were not big enough for certain types of art. SO-IL was asked to create a large cube that could house large art installations. The firm did just that, they designed a large cube, with all circulation happening along the permitter of the cube. The trouble with designing a box is that the exterior is hard, and stuck out of the very soft landscape. The solution was to wrap the hard surfaces in a material that smoothes the edges and fits in with the landscape. The material of choice was chain mill (the chain material you see on medieval people). It was not easy to get the material manufactured at this scale, but a small town was able to combine their skills and create something beautiful for the building. Check out more of SO-IL's work here.