Anticipating the Future: Florian Idenburg’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter January 15, 2013

Florian Idenburg

Architect Florian Idenburg: Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (Brooklyn, New York)

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In a comment he makes for Designers & Books about Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan, a book he calls “pretty essential for anyone who ‘designs’ for the future,” architect Florian Idenburg notes that it “tells us we cannot predict, thus depict, what the future will be—all we can do is anticipate.”

The gist of this thought animates the work that Idenburg has done: as a founding partner of Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu, the internationally recognized practice he established with Jing Liu, which focuses on the development of new ideas and their viability in the world; earlier, as a senior associate with the Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA; and as an academic.

Books form an important part of what Solid Objectives refers to as a “cross pollination” of ideas that look to the future. “Books are permanently around in our office. At home books surround us,” the Dutch-born Idenburg writes in his book list introduction for Designers & Books. Among the titles Idenburg says “have impacted my thoughts and actions” are revolutionary structural engineer Cecil Balmond’s Informal (also on the book list of contributor Terence Riley), which Idenburg comments is “a book that makes one think anew about the way the construction of buildings can be conceived.”

Florian Idenburg, ed., The SANAA Studios, 2006–2008: Learning from Japan, Single Story Urbanism, 2009 (Lars Müller Publishers)

Other book choices reflect the influences of China and Japan—“cultures that have affected me,” Idenburg remarks. About Ian Buruma’s novel China Lover, Idenburg says: “I share Buruma’s fascinations with the complexities of a globalizing world and the cultural and personal stories it yields.” Takashi Homma’s photographic book Tokyo Suburbia prompts the comment: “This book drew me to post-bubble Japan. To the innocent, the personal.”

Florian Idenburg is the author of two books that explore the work of the architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the Tokyo-based SANAA, where Idenburg worked from 2000 to 2007: The SANAA Studios, 2006–2008: Learning from Japan (Lars Müller Publishers, 2009) and Relations in the Work of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (Postmedia, 2010).

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