+Pool, the initiative launched in 2010 to install a public pool in the East River, is now sponsored by Heineken and recently launched a community involvement website to mark the partnership. Heineken has sponsored similar projects, like James Murphy’s Subway Symphony, through The Cities Project Initiative, a program which aims to bring positive change to urban environments around the world. Despite a highly visible public profile, +Pool has been unable to meet its ambitious timeline, which promised a summer 2016 inauguration with a performance by Beyonce (!?). The organization also missed its much-anticipated deadline in 2013 to build a public mock-up pavilion, however was able to launch a test filtration apparatuses 2014 called Float Lab. The test was active for 6 months and provided critical data for the proper function of the system. This new partnership with Heineken may provide the jolt of activism needed to finally realize the project in full.
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Meet the architect behind Kanye West’s 50-foot volcano, Los Angeles mansion, and design-savvy baby-proofing
Ironically, there are few surer ways to emerge from obscurity than to be hired by Kanye West. For Romanian architect Oana Stanescu, who designed a 50-foot stage-prop volcano for the rapper’s Yeezus tour, it meant finding a way to reconcile pop culture with utilitarian design. Stanescu and her partner Dong Ping-Wong, of New York–based design firm Family, recently completed the Hong Kong flagship store of Off White, a high-end streetwear brand founded by Virgil Abloh, West’s creative director. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Stanescu declined to reveal what other Yeezus-related projects are forthcoming, but she was reportedly hired to baby-proof and redesign the 9,000 square-foot, faux-French-Italian Los Angeles mansion the rapper shares with wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North West. As one of the designers behind the Kickstarter-backed +Pool project, which seeks to install a floating pool in the East River, Stanescu is persistently, if inadvertently, in the public eye. When queried about her name being dropped by the gossip tabloids after she designed West’s volcano, she pragmatically told the New York Times, “Design is at its best when it’s collaborative. I’m interested in pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do.” West made an appearance at +Pool’s Fall Swim Benefit in at Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo to support Stanescu’s project, set to be the world’s first water-filtering pool when it opens in 2017. The plus-shaped pool can reportedly clean 500,000 gallons or river water per day. Meanwhile, Stanescu has been photographed accompanying West on architectural field trips to seek inspiration for his pared-down Paris home, where she is adding a baby room. But she is not the only top designer West has consorted with—the rapper has also consulted household names Dirand, Vervoordt and Tristan Auer, neglecting an unspoken competitive code of conduct in the design world. “Right now Kanye is just sponging things up, observing how these people work,” Stanescu told W magazine. The architect first met West when he hired Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture, where Stanescu used to work, to design a viewing pavilion for his short film Cruel Summer at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.
For nearly a decade now, New Yorkers have been turning their focus on revitalizing the city's waterfront, a trend that has only grown in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. WXY Architecture’s East River Blueway and Bloomberg’s Vision 2020 are two examples of initiatives that seek to build sustainable, accessible, and engaging shorelines for the city. But with summer approaching and the days heating up, what city dwellers may want most from their estuaries is a cool, clean dip. Brooklyn-based design firms Family Architects and PlayLab hope to make that dream possible, but they still need $250,000 to get started. In two weeks, the group will launch a campaign to create a smaller mock-up of +Pool, the floating, plus sign–shaped pool that could land in the East River by May 2015. The mock-up will test the pool's innovative filtration system that cleans water directly from the river to make it safe enough to swim in. The system would use a three-level filtration system within the pool's walls, which filters the river water, making for a pleasant and healthy immersion. The design of the 9,000-square-foot facility combines an Olympic-length lap pool, kids pool, sports pool, and lounge pool, opening the water park up to all levels of swimmers. +Pool previously raised over $40,000 on Kickstarter and has attracted support from engineering firm Arup, local politicians, and the architectural community. Stay tuned for your chance to dip into your wallet for a dip in the pool!