Have you ever dreamed of swimming in the East River? The design firm Playlab and Family NY have, which is why they are currently working on building + POOL, a giant plus sign-shaped pool that filters the water from the river into clean water for everyone to swim in, uniting the boroughs. The project started four years ago when Dong Ping Wong of the architecture company Family approached Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Lee Coates IV and their design studio, Playlab with the idea of actually getting into the water, rather than looking at it as a boundary between Brooklyn and Manhattan or Manhattan and New Jersey. The aim is to change people’s relationship with the water by actually getting them into the water.
Coates, who came from a graphic design background, and Franklin, an architect, chose the plus shape because of its iconic and inclusive nature. Practically, the pool will be comprised of four separate pools stuck together that can be sectioned off for either lounging, kids, a lap pool, sports, etc.… or they can be combined to form an Olympic-length pool.
In order to raise money for construction of the pool, Playlab and Family NY approached Kickstarter back in 2011. At that point, Kickstarter had not taken on a civic project, and so a $25,000 campaign was launched to fund the first round of filtration testing. In just six days, they had raised $41,000, and the first filtration test was a success. Two years later in 2013, a second Kickstarter was needed to build a floating lab, but that time around, the campaign was built around giving people a part of the pool they could own – tiles on the walls and floors of the pool that anyone could purchase engraved with a donor’s name on it, along with a gift tile, because as Franklin declared, “+ POOL is just as much the people’s project as it is ours. It’s their city, so it should be their pool.” In just 30 days, Playlab and Family NY had surpassed their Kickstarter goal, and managed to raise $271,000. Today, the fundraising continues in order to complete the filtration tests and to secure a site for the pool.
During the Kickstarter campaign, the project began attracting significant international interests. Franklin added, “We want this to be an open, transparent project. We want people to build off of this idea. This problem is worldwide. In the U.S., 22 of the 25 biggest cities with waterfronts can’t use them. 90% of the world’s most populated waterfront cities can’t use them. We’ve gotten calls from Brazil and Japan. They’re working on this in London. When we had the Kickstarter, we got a lot of support and calls from people worldwide telling us this was a big inspiration to them.”
With the Floating Lab up and running, Brooklyn Industries is proud to support this innovative project. We’ve collaborated with + POOL to release the initiative’s official t-shirt, with 10% of proceeds from sales of the tee supporting the project. Additionally, we’ll be hosting a meet and greet at Brooklyn Industries Smith Street on Saturday, June 28th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., where you can meet the architects and learn more about the project, as well as purchase a tile and have your name etched in a piece of Brooklyn forever.
Today only, take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY