Based in New York, SO-IL was founded by Dutchmen Florian Idenburg and Nanjing-born Jing Liu in 2008. The two directors’ approach and culture has been largely defined by their global experiences, which bring together life and practice in Europe, Asia and the US.

Fittingly, theirs is a truly international practice, with their Brooklyn office staff collectively speaking more than a dozen languages and their work spreading from North America to South Korea, and from Mexico to France. ‘We are inspired by culture, history, people, technology, art, and the fascinating collisions that occur when the world gathers, ’ explain Idenburg and Liu.

Exterior of Hong Kong CTF art museum
CTF Art Museum, Hong Kong, 2017. Photography: Virgile Simon Bertrand
Interior of an installation in Beijing
Spiky, International Architecture Biennial, Beijing, China, 2013. Photography: SO-IL

China – Liu’s birthplace and the location of several of the studio’s realised and proposed work – is key among their sources of inspiration. Their portfolio of work in the country has been steadily growing, including participations at the 2013 China International Architectural Biennial and 2011 Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale, where the pair had the chance to contemplate and elaborate on the role of architecture in the wider region. They have also recently completed the CTF Museum on Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside.

‘Our practice finds harmony in the space between East and West,’ explain Idenburg and Liu. ‘What we have learned from China is a perspective on time, between resolution and the ever-evolving nature of humanity.’

Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu
Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu. Photography: Vincent Tullo