The work of Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu – partner-founders of the New York architecture and design practice SO – IL, or Solid Objectives – is distinguished by its material invention and structural integrity. Their body of completed projects, which includes museums and galleries, public housing, and residential commissions – has now enlarged to take in furniture as well. Their primary foray into the discipline is Frame, an evolving series constructed using welded steel and chain mesh, industrial materials worked by hand. Not so much conventional objects as free drawings in space, they reflect SO – IL’s dedication to flexible, conversational space, at any scale. They are counterintuitive, barely even recognizable as seating, yet in fact they beautifully condense architectural ideas to human scale. Public sites in miniature, they even model the give and take that characterizes successful social structures, as sitting on any one part will shift the tension in the rest of the surface.
This year, after considerable delay due to the pandemic, SO – IL realized a major commission for the High Museum of Art entitled Murmuration, in which they enlarged the vocabulary of Frame back up to the size of architecture, echoing the trees surrounding the institution. The project is a powerful demonstration of the principle animating all of Idenburg and Liu’s work: that ideas can retain their integrity across spaces, scales, and sites, without limitation.