BOFFO is pleased to announce BOFFO Building Fashion TELFAR x SO–IL a fashion and architecture collaboration that was on view Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 5PM as part of the TELFAR Spring/Summer 2019 presentation at BLADE Lounge East, a helicopter pad on the East River in New York City. TELFAR x SO–IL is the thirteenth collaboration in the award winning BOFFO Building Fashion series, an initiative since 2010 that explores the intersection of architecture and fashion through installation, exhibition, and retail design experimentation.
A site-specific work for performance — the helicopter pad is the location of an iconic 1994 photograph of Biggie Smalls, Lil Kim and Junior Mafia featuring the Queensboro Bridge that connects Telfar’s own daily and metaphorical commute between Manhattan and Lefrak City in Queens, where he was born and lives. The image is beautiful and generic: a classic American success story that the designer and the architects have set out to complicate.
In conversation with Babak Radboy, artistic director of TELFAR, Jing Liu, founder of SO–IL transformed the helipad with a spatial design that questions who is on display and who is walking free of a typical runway — inspired by an image of a safari cage. This liberating ambiguity interrupts the prescribed dynamic between performer and spectator, subject and object. The design choreographs the bodies of the audience by shaping them into a long ring encaged in a narrow corridor made of readily available fencing and construction supplies. The show took place in the center with everyone in front row. In this setting, a series of interchangeable interiors and exteriors were created, as well as a compulsory participation activated by the material disruption of the line of sight through fencing and the choreography of the audience’s bodies.
Musicians FAKA, Ian Isaiah, and special guests dawned TELFAR’s newest collection as they sang, a convention that TELFAR has established as his signature presentation style.
BOFFO Building Fashion TELFAR x SO–IL is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant, BOFFO Board of Directors, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Founded in 2005, unisex fashion line TELFAR was ignored by the mainstream fashion press for a decade due to its non-racial/non-gendered vision of fashion. Since winning the 2017 Vogue/CFDA fashion fund, TELFAR has been developing a mode of presentation based on musical collaborations that emphasise what is collectively owned and essentially human in style and music.
Founded by Telfar Clemens and since its inception in 2005, unisex line TELFAR has continually challenged the conventions of the fashion industry through unexpected executions, among them, mobile pop-up presentations, artistic instructional films (about topics like layering), and an online video game for adding colour to TELFAR pieces. TELFAR disrupts fashion conventions with its inclusive, democratically horizontal, “simplex” aesthetic (simple + complex). Laying the blueprint for today’s black avant-garde, TELFAR has been launching projects with a remarkably horizontal cultural impact — from collaborations with Solange Knowles at the Guggenheim Museum to designing the nationwide uniforms for over 10,000 employees of the US fast-food chain White Castle. After winning the 2017 Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund, TELFAR is poised to take its place in the foreground of America’s fashion future. Babak Radboy is the creative director of TELFAR and the non-profit platform Bidoun Projects. He has collaborated with artists and writers such as Roe Ethridge, Bjarne Melgaard and Chris Kraus and his commercial clients range from Kanye West and Hugo Boss to the fast-food chain White Castle.
SO–IL is an internationally recognized architecture and design firm based in New York. We create structures that establish new cultures, institutions, and relationships. The firm works across countries and cultures. Together, our team speaks more than a dozen languages. Our clients are spread across France and South Korea to the United States and Mexico.
We believe that through deep collaboration, architects can strengthen communities’ ties to their environments. In an increasingly digitized world, our architecture incorporates innovative physical materials that follow the unique scale and conceptual grounding of each project: stretched chainmail over a gallery building, or an array of elegant glass tubes as a museum facade.
We create urban spaces, buildings for culture, residences, and workplaces on a variety of scales. We have designed Manhattan offices, a tent to house the Frieze Art Fair, innovative furniture for Knoll, a revitalized public square in Paris, and many other projects. Our practice is forward-looking: We ensure that new architecture will be adaptable to a dynamic future.
We have been featured in publications like the New York Times and Architectural Record and have received recognitions including the Curbed Groundbreakers Award and the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Award. Institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago have acquired our work.
SO–IL was founded by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu in 2008, and has been led with partner Ilias Papageorgiou since 2013.