Elena Manferdini notes that Oana Stanescu was the lecturer selected by students for this series. She characterizes Stanescu’s work with her partner Dong-Ping Wong for Family New York as the kind of effortlessness that requires enormous effort.
Stanescu outlines her background, from Ceaușescu’s Romania to the founding of Family New York with the goal of making the difference that design does best. She describes several projects, including Dallas Peaks (2009); Circle Bridge for Maribor, Slovenia (2010); an interior for Virgil Abloh’s Off-White store in Hong Kong (2014); the stage for Kanye West’s “Yeezus” tour (2013); an expansion for the Gösta Serlachius Museum in Mänttä, Finland (2010); and a store for Need Supply Co. in Richmond, VA.
Stanescu describes in detail the +Pool project, begun in 2010 and currently in progress. She characterizes it as an attempt to address the paradox that inhabitants of the island of Manhattan have no beaches and limited access to swimming. Their proposal combines four kinds of pools (kids, lap, sport, lounge) that not only float in the East River, but obtain their water from it. She describes their experiments in devising a water filtration system, and their reliance on Kickstarter, social media and conventional media to fund the project and gain collaborators and supporters. Stanescu stresses how instead of following the traditional path of Policy→Client→Funding→Site→Team→Design, they have been able to create a new path that progresses from Design→Team→Site→Funding→Client→Policy.