When Virgil Abloh opened Off-White’s first brick and mortar store seven years ago in Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s most popular shopping districts, he worked with Family New York, an architecture office run by Oana Stănescu and Dong-Ping Wong. As a group, they designed a store that went against every notion of traditional brick and mortar retail. 

Instead of an all-glass window display and a door, the entrance is a public garden that invites passersby to sit and engage with the region’s local fauna. And as opposed to displaying products on shelves or racks with hangers, items are placed on tiered steps inspired by Hong Kong’s stone quarries, which also served as seating so the minimalist store could transform into a gallery or performance venue on a whim. 

Stănescu, a 37-year-old architect, worked on this project completely through WhatsApp text messages with Wong and Abloh, and she’s helped some of today’s most creative thinkers bring their grand ideas to life. As a young architect in the 2010s she was working with clients like Kanye West, designing everything from his Parisian apartment to a seven-screen audio-visual experience for his “Cruel Summer” film premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. A few years later alongside Wong, she designed that iconic mountain that split in half and turned into a volcano during the Yeezus Tour in 2013.