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A HOUSE BECOMES A HOME Empowerhouse, the focus of this issue of re:D, is a pioneering initiative intended to address the urgent need for affordable sustainable housing. It debuted publicly at Solar Decathlon 2011, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy in which college teams create solar-powered, energy-efficient homes. In its decathlon entry, The New School raised the bar like no other contestant: Partnering with Stevens Institute of Technology and community groups including Habitat for Humanity, DC, Parsons and Milano students designed a permanent home for a local family. After winning the decathlon’s Affordability contest, the team moved the house to a Washington, DC, neighborhood to develop it into a two-family residence. Meanwhile, Empowerhouse’s ongoing achievements are inspiring other lasting changes.

Read more alumni news and submit your own at red.parsons.edu.

In this issue, alumna Kay Unger's degree should have been listed as “Fashion Design '67.” The middle initial of alumnus Gabriel J. Shuldiner's name was inadvertently omitted and his degree incorrectly given as BFA instead of MFA. The dress shown in “A Good Showing: Parsons Festival” was created by Katherine Kim, BFA Fashion Design '11. The Editorial Committee of re:D regrets these errors and omissions.


For more: red.parsons.edu


News & Events​ Parsons hosts the Transdisciplinary Seminar on Afrofuturism Lecture Series and is represented in MoMA’s Talk to Me exhibition


A Good Showing The first annual Parsons festival brings the community together to celebrate art and design


Portfolio Students look beyond their home schools to reflect on the work of peers


Laying Foundations Empowerhouse, an ongoing university initiative, achieves important milestones and advances toward others


Connected Students meet Lakiya Culley, Habitat for Humanity’s home owner candidate for Empowerhouse


Alumni Message Grads support Empowerhouse and gather for an alumni art exhibition at Reunion 2011


Alumni Profiles Social Enterprise


Pathways in Pictures Alex Lee, BFA Environmental Design ’84: Tracing the career of OXO’s president


Thank You Our Supporters and the Frank Alvah Parsons Society



Ed Nacional, AAS Graphic Design ’09


News & Events



Next summer, people going for a swim at Washington Heights’ Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center will enjoy the use of Splash House—an outdoor pavilion created by students in Parsons’ DESIGN WORKSHOP and New York City Parks and Recreation. Splash House reorganizes foot traffic through the center and provides new lockers and areas for changing. The addition of the pavilion means that the center can offer recreation programs year-round and will not have to be transformed into a space for pool goers in the summer. Students also developed a master plan for future capital improvements for the center.

HAZEL CLARK, of Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory, led a panel that was a highlight of Parsons Festival 2011. Fashion Cuts: Public Media and the Fashioning of Reality brought Clark together with TIM GUNN, author, television personality, chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne, and former head of Fashion at Parsons; and SCOTT SCHULMAN, fashion blogger (The Sartorialist). The three discussed the growing cultural significance of fashion and the role public and social media play in constructing meaning through fashion. Panelists explored how the media has both elevated the standing of fashion as a design discipline and opened up the apparel industry to public participation.

sce.parsons.edu/designworkshop See page 03, image 12.

MUSEUM PIECES The Parsons community lent its talents to Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, a recent Museum of Modern Art exhibition. Curated by MoMA’s PAOLA ANTONELLI and KATE CARMODY, MA HISTORY OF DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN ’08, Talk to Me showcased work—in a variety of media and on a range of scales—with interactive and communicative features. Included is Augmented Shadow by JOON Y. YOON, MFA DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY ’10; be-B Braille Education Ball by DANIELLE PECORA ’02; and EyeWriter by Parsons alum and faculty member ZACH LIEBERMAN, MFA DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY ’02 and other alumni. EyeWriter, a tool built with readily available software and parts, enables people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to create images using a projection apparatus (see image below). The exhibition catalog features an essay by JAMER HUNT, director of the MFA TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN program.

www.newschool.edu/talktome See page 02, image 3.

www.newschool.edu/fashioncuts See page 06, image 1.




Parsons’ urban programs hosted events at ART IN ODD PLACES 2011: RITUAL, an annual festival of urban public art in Manhattan. Every October, Art in Odd Places presents visual and performance art along 14th Street from Avenue C to the Hudson River. In the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center’s Kellen Auditorium, LINDA MARY MONTANO led audience members through her Glandathon Workshop, a public event exploring the seven energy centers of the body. Parsons also hosted Pseudo-Public Space, a panel discussion on access to and commodification of public space and artists’ relationship to it. The panel featured TANIA DUVERGNE, SARA REISMAN, LEON REID IV, and HRAG VARTANIAN.

Seven AAS FASHION MARKETING and BFA COMMUNICATION DESIGN students at Parsons recently took part in a course in which they developed a public awareness campaign advocating the use of cold water to wash clothes. (As much as 60 percent of garments’ carbon footprint results from washing.) Students worked with Droga 5 creative agency to create Wash Cold, a series of fashion-oriented videos and accompanying website communicating the environmental impact of hot water use to consumers and industry professionals. The campaign was shortlisted for a “Fashioning the Future” award by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, last August. The awards recognize innovations in the creation and promotion of sustainable fashion.

For this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), student teams from Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE) created a striking booth for Metropolis magazine. Led by event designer DAVID STARK and MFA Interior Design director JONSARA RUTH, students developed four concepts, which they pitched to Metropolis. Elements of each proposal were integrated into the built project, which consisted of tall metal uprights rising from curved plywood bases. Arranged in an open circle and strung with colored yarn, they enclosed a space in which visitors could relax and view a video of a competition to reduce the carbon footprint of a U.S. government building. Components were designed for later reuse: Plywood cabinets were moved to Metropolis offices, yarn was donated, and scrap wood and metal were recycled.


www.whywashcold.com See page 03, image 14.

www.newschool.edu/parsonsicff-2011 See page 07, image 1.

Work by NINA CHANEL ABNEY, MFA FINE ARTS ’07, is part of 30 Americans, an exhibition on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, through February 12. Showcasing art by AfricanAmerican artists of the last three decades, 30 Americans includes pieces by seminal figure Jean-Michel Basquiat, prominent contemporary artists Glen Ligon and Kara Walker, and emerging artists Kehinde Wiley and Shinique Smith. Corcoran Gallery curators invited Abney to lecture to students at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Since graduating, Abney has exhibited in three solo shows in New York and London and in group shows at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Art Basel Miami.

www2.corcoran.org/ 30americans




EVENTS 1  Fashion Benefit 2011 This year’s benefit celebrated REED KRAKOFF, AAS FASHION STUDIES ’89. Shown is a look by CLAIRE CONSANI, BFA FASHION DESIGN ’11. 2  New Green City KAITLIN WAUCHOPE, a student in Milano’s Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program and an Empowerhouse team member, presented on the Deanwood Learning Garden (see page 17) at this educational event.



3  Talk to Me at MoMA The recent exhibition Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects was co-curated by MoMA’s KATE CARMODY, MA HISTORY OF DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN ’08. Included in the show was be-B Braille Education Ball, by DANIELLE PECORA ’02, shown here. 4  Alumni Panel at Parsons Reunion 2011 JOEL TOWERS, executive dean of Parsons, and fashion designer YEOHLEE TENG discuss urban design businesses. Other panelists were illustrator PETER DE SÈVE and game designer WADE TINNEY.



5  Global Issues Lecture Series Artist SZE TSUNG LEONG spoke as part of SUSAN YELAVICH’s course and lecture series Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century. 6  Afrofuturism Lecture Series Artist JULIE MEHRETU lectured as part of a seminar, organized by AMT’s Coco Fusco, focusing on science fiction as a genre connecting science, technology, and social engineering with the African Diasporic experience.


7  Alexander McQueen at The Met Students in Parsons’ MFA Fashion Design and Society program participated in a competition at The Met in which students responded to the work of Alexander McQueen. PAULA CHENG —whose work is shown here—was chosen as the winner. 8  Black Studies in Art and Design Education Conference KYMBERLY N. PINDER lectures at a conference organized by COCO FUSCO and YVONNE WATSON, in which scholars and practitioners discussed the underrepresentation of African-American creativity in universities and proposed solutions.


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EXHIBITIONS 9  U-n-f-o-l-d: A Cultural Response to Climate Change The SHEILA C. JOHNSON DESIGN CENTER (SJDC) focused on art and climate change in fall 2011. An exhibition curated by Chris Wainwright and Cape Farewell’s David Buckland anchored SJDC’s series of panels, performances, and commissions exploring this issue. U-n-f-o-l-d included Adriane Colburn’s installation (right).



10  (re)Collection At the SHEILA C. JOHNSON DESIGN CENTER, New School Art Collection curators examined the curatorial process and histories of institutional holdings. A highlight was Camilo Egas’ restored mural Ecuadorian Festival (1931), at right. 11  Amplifying Creative Communities: North Brooklyn Parsons’ DESIGN FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL INNOVATION (DESIS) LAB presented urban design research in Brooklyn in an exhibition and workshops. Researchers documented activities involving sustainable food production, transportation, and resource sharing.

PROJECTS 12  Design Workshop 2011: Splash House A DESIGN WORKSHOP project at Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments, SPLASH HOUSE is an outdoor pavilion with changing areas in Washington Heights’ Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center. 13  U  nion Square Zoetrope Six MFA Design and Technology students, led by faculty members JOSH SPODEK and ANEZKA SEBEK, created Union Square in Motion, an interactive video zoetrope installed in the Union Square station. Made with support from NYC’s MTA Arts for Transit program, it is the world’s largest digital linear zoetrope.




14  Wash Cold Campaign AAS FASHION MARKETING and BFA COMMUNICATION DESIGN students created Wash Cold, a campaign of videos and a website urging consumers and fashion professionals to adopt environmentally responsible practices.


15  Mapping Transdisciplinary Design Second-year MFA TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN students created a 3D map depicting their field. The map, installed on the 12th floor of 6 East 16th Street, shows interconnected areas of study and practitioners.




16  PENSOLE at SPACE D’WAYNE EDWARDS, formerly of Nike, brought his innovative athletic footwear course to PARSONS SUMMER INTENSIVE STUDIES NEW YORK. Over four weeks, students developed shoe designs, guided by industry professionals, and shared renderings, packaging concepts, and models in final presentations.






Intermedia Initiatives, directed by COCO FUSCO of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), received a grant from the Robert Lehman Foundation to create a transdisciplinary seminar on Afrofuturism. The semester-long seminar used science fiction as a genre connecting science, technology, and social engineering with the African Diasporic experience. The seminar brought internationally renowned artists and scholars to lecture publicly at The New School this past fall. Presenters—artist JULIE MEHRETU, artist and cultural theorist KODWO ESHUN, composer and scholar GEORGE LEWIS, sociology professor ALONDRA NELSON, sound artists KEITH + MENDI OBADIKE, science fiction writer NALO HOPKINSON, and filmmaker WANURI KAHIU —lectured on science fiction as a means of exploring the historical experience of diaspora. Shown here is Mehretu’s Empirical Construction, Istanbul, 2003 (Ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 x 180 in. Collection of the artist; courtesy The Project, New York and Los Angeles).

D’WAYNE EDWARDS, former footwear design director for Nike’s Jordan division, recently led 23 students from six countries through his innovative athletic footwear class at PARSONS SUMMER INTENSIVE STUDIES NEW YORK. The course title, PENSOLE, alludes to Edwards’ requirement that students handdraw their shoe designs, which they refined over four weeks. The curriculum includes exercises to develop workplace skills like time management and collaboration. Industry experts critiqued student work, and designer Matt Rhoades and materials specialist Suzette Henri, Edwards’ former colleagues at Nike, guided participants through the intensive design process. In their final presentations, students showed renderings, packaging concepts, and models of their designs. Anna Smith, an industrial design master’s student from NC State University, said the course “offered practical information on a growing industry that’s not taught about a lot.”

MFA Transdisciplinary Design students recently unveiled Mapping Transdisciplinary Design, a 3D visualization of their field of study installed on the 12th floor of 6 East 16th Street. The domed map, created in a class taught by PATRICIA BEIRNE, is labeled with terms like “Government,” “Nature,” and “Infrastructure” that reflect student interests, skills, and project work. Connecting the terms are lines suggesting interconnections and related practices. Dots labeled with the names of people and entities engaged in transdisciplinary activity—placed and sized according to the relevance of each to the field—surround the domed map, creating a conceptual cosmos. Visitors claimed their places in the transdesign universe by recording their practices on cards and pinning them to the map. According to BEN WINTER, MFA TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN ’12, the map “depicts the world of transdisciplinary design but also projects us into areas we want to research.”



See page 03, image 15.

See page 02, image 6.

See page 03, image 16.






A zero-waste anorak design by BFA FASHION DESIGN student ANDRIA CRESCIONI ’11 debuted in the fall collection of Loomstate, Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn’s ecofriendly label. Proceeds from its sale will fund scholarships at Parsons. Crescioni developed her design in a course—piloted by TIMO RISSANEN, assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons—in which students produced garments with minimal fabric waste. Hahn and Gregory mentored students in Rissanen’s course, educating them about sourcing, dyeing, finishing, and energy consumption. “Parsons produces some of the top talent in the industry, and we were impressed with its commitment to challenging students to rethink the design and manufacturing process within the context of sustainability,” said Hahn. Crescioni is currently developing a sustainably produced capsule collection with the Awamaki Lab, a Peruvian nonprofit that works with indigenous weavers.

The 2010–2011 Hearst Scholarship recipients included first-place winners CLAUDIA SENIOR, BFA ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, and LUCIA CUBA OROZA, MFA FASHION DESIGN AND SOCIETY. Senior focused on the lack of access to affordable, healthful foods in the South Bronx. Her project engaged community members in the creation of a mural, sustainable educational greenhouse, and urban chicken coop. Cuba Oroza created a website to raise awareness about the importance of Peru’s Gamarra fashion district. Secondplace winners were JONATHAN BALDWIN, MFA DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY; BLAND HOKE, MFA TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN; LENA HUANG, BFA FINE ARTS; MARIA FERNANDA JIMENEZ, BFA FINE ARTS; MOLLY PRICKET, MFA INTERIOR DESIGN; and JAQUELINE WALLACE, MA HISTORY OF DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN.

Students from Parsons’ School of Fashion took part in a juried competition, sponsored by The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, responding to the artistic legacy of Alexander McQueen. Asked to reflect on McQueen’s construction and presentation methods and cultural commentary, contestants created conceptual garments inspired by the visionary designer. Of the 30 entrants, four finalists were selected— AINA HUSSAIN, PAULA CHENG, MAYUMI YAMAMOTO, and JIE LI —all from Parsons’ MFA Fashion Design and Society program. Each finalist developed her concept into a garment, presented in video and still images and for display at the museum. Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, and Andrew Bolton, curator of The Costume Institute, chose Cheng as the winner. Cheng received several prizes and will intern at Alexander McQueen.

Four new graduate programs at Parsons are slated to launch in 2012. Students enrolled in the research-driven MA THEORIES OF URBAN PRACTICE acquire an understanding of the design of cities and apply transdisciplinary approaches to transforming them. In MS DESIGN AND URBAN ECOLOGIES, students explore forces influencing the development of cities through activism, research, and fieldwork. The MS STRATEGIC DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT program combines online courses with on-campus studios, preparing students to create and lead designdriven organizations. Students in the MA DESIGN STUDIES program consider design as a field of scholarly research and an agent of social change. The program prepares students for careers in design research, curating, writing, and advanced study.


vimeo.com/28637999 See page 02, image 7.

www.newschool.edu/ thinkparsons


NEW FACULTY HIRES New faculty are bringing research and studio skills to campus. CHRISTOPHER CSIKSZENTMIHÁLYI, distinguished visiting professor of art and design research, designs technologies for social change. He co-founded and directed the MIT Center for Future Civic Media (C4) and directed the Computing Culture Group, part of the MIT Media Lab. FRANCESCA GRANATA, assistant professor in the MA Fashion Studies program, has curated exhibitions on fashion and sustainable design. Granata has taught at Pratt, Parsons, NYU, and Goldsmiths College and was a research fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the founder of the journal Fashion Projects. PASCAL GLISSMANN, assistant professor in Communication Design, is a media designer, artist, and scholar and the founder of the Studio Subcologne. He has taught and exhibited internationally and received the 2010 Sotheby’s Award from the Miró Foundation Mallorca. CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER, associate professor in Strategic Management and Design, has worked as a design manager and written and lectured about strategic design. See the website below for a list of all hires.

BLACK STUDIES IN ART & DESIGN ED Last spring, Parsons presented the first international conference assessing the state of Black culture in art and design education. Organized by COCO FUSCO, artist, writer, and director of Intermedia Initiatives at Parsons, and YVONNE WATSON, associate professor and director of Academic Affairs at Parsons’ School of Fashion, the conference gathered creative practitioners to reflect on the underrepresentation of AfricanAmerican creativity in institutions of higher learning and to propose solutions. Scholars, educators, artists, and designers such as JANICE CHEDDIE, STEPHEN BURKS, LESLIE KINGHAMMOND, TONY WHITFIELD, CAROL TULLOCH, and PEPON OSORIO discussed recruiting and retaining Black students and faculty and reforming curricula to reflect the global influence of Black culture. Fusco and Watson are exploring ways to develop and share the work done at the conference.

www.newschool.edu/finearts/ blackstudies



Parsons’ DESIGN FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL INNOVATION (DESIS) LAB recently focused on social innovation in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in an exhibition and workshops. Amplifying Creative Communities: North Brooklyn brought together residents, activists, and designers to explore efforts to make Brooklyn more livable. The exhibition, at Arts@Renaissance, documented independent initiatives to effect sustainable change and projects arising from workshops hosted by DESIS with partners like the design consultancy IDEO. The events mark the culmination of DESIS’s urban design research in Brooklyn during the past year, which recorded activities involving sustainable food production, transportation, and resource sharing. The project’s goal, according to DESIS Lab director EDUARDO STASZOWSKI, “is to look at existing social innovations in a neighborhood and identify what positive change is happening and how to amplify it.” The research was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund.

Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center presented (RE)COLLECTION (June 16–Sept. 7), an exhibition for which curators SILVIA ROCCIOLO, ERIK STARK, and JOHN WANZEL selected works owned by The New School to explore the curatorial process and role of institutional art collections in the 21st century. Curated by David Buckland and Chris Wainwright for Cape Farewell—an organization that enlists artists in the effort to communicate the science of climate change— U-N-F-O-L-D: A CULTURAL RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE (Sept. 30–Nov. 22) featured the work of 25 artists, musicians, and writers who participated in expeditions in 2007 and 2008 to the Arctic and in 2009 to the Andes, where they witnessed the effects of climate change. The show’s themes were explored in programs in partnership with Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, ARTPORT_making waves, and Positivefeedback, a collaboration between NYU, CUNY, and Columbia University. SPURRED CONVERSATIONS: THE CITY STUDIO + SEWARD PARK URBAN RENEWAL AREA (Jan. 23–Feb. 25) presents work created in visual urbanist studios led by GABRIELLE BENDINER-VIANI. Curated by Niels Van Tomme and organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, WHERE DO WE MIGRATE TO? (Feb. 2–Apr.15) features the work of 19 artists and collectives responding to the political and psychological dimensions of the contemporary migrant experience.

amplifyingcreativecommunities. net See page 03, image 11.

See page 02, image 8.


DIRECTIONAL VISITORS (DE)SIGNAGE ON CAMPUS On September 24, Parsons hosted “Making Cities: Whither Design?,” a day of public lectures and discussions on urban design and contemporary design practice. Scholars from across the nation presented on topics such as participatory urban design and cybernetics. The event marks the publication of the universitysponsored Companion to Urban Design and the growth of urban programs at Parsons and The New School. The symposium was organized by the SCHOOL OF DESIGN STRATEGIES (SDS) at Parsons and funded by a grant from the Office of the Provost at The New School.


Recent speakers on campus included designer MASSIMO VIGNELLI; artists LAWRENCE MALSTAF, LUIS CAMNITZER, JOHN EWING, CHRISTOPHER ROBBINS; designer MARTIN KALTENBRUNNER; graphic designers KAREL MARTENS, STEPHEN DOYLE, STEFF GEISSBUHLER; trend forecaster EMMANUELLE LINARD; architects MERRIT BUCHOLTZ, CRAIG SCHWITTERS, JEFFERY TILL; design scholar MOLLY WRIGHT STEENSON; journalist JULIANA ROTICH; media artist BETH COLEMAN; “Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century: Culture” presenters DO HO SUH, TEDDY CRUZ, SEAN DONAHUE, BLAIR SATTERFIELD, MARC SWACKHAMER, SZE TSUNG LEONG, JAMES HOLSTON; “Start Something: Why Every Creative Needs to Be an Entrepreneur” panelists LAUREN LETO, LAUREL TOUBY, AUDACIA RAY, LEIGH ANN TUCKER; Visiting Artist Lecture Series presenters KIMSOOJA,

www.newschool.edu/sjdc See page 03, images 9, 10.

FABRICATED STORY Last summer, JULIA POTEAT, AAS FASHION DESIGN faculty member and construction coordinator, was contacted by decor magazine Veranda for an imaginative fashion editorial story. The magazine sought student work created from high-end fabrics intended for the interior design trade. For Veranda’s October issue, four AAS FASHION DESIGN students— KYUN KIM, MICHELLE MUELLER, SARA PAREHOFF, and YUANYUAN HU —created looks inspired by 18th-century fashion using printed cottons, embroidered silks, and luxurious trimmings usually found on walls and in curtains and upholstery.





1 Fashion Cuts


2 Parsons Scholars


Campus visitors last May were met with bright yellow decals and posters beckoning them to the inaugural Parsons Festival. The event, held May 7–23, presented student work together for the first time, highlighting the connections between disciplines, research, and media being developed throughout Parsons. Exhibitions, lectures, and open reviews drew students and families, alumni, and the public to witness the accomplishments of the university community over two weeks, culminating in a block party on 13th Street on graduation day. In this year’s festival, campus visitors could see MFA Design and Technology and BFA Fine Arts student work in the galleries of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC), view chair prototypes by BFA Product Design students lining the SJDC’s 13th Street windows, take in thesis shows on a floor on East 16th Street, and attend a lecture in the “Water Fight! Fracking, Food, Art, and Economy” conference in Tishman Auditorium. As Radhika Subramaniam, co-organizer of the festival and director and chief curator of the SJDC, put it, “We’re giving the world access to reviews, critiques, and presentations— things that are central to our academic experience but usually invisible to the public.” At right are a few festival events that took place on campus and beyond.


4 SoundAffects

5 Festival Block Party

8 Transatlantic Program


1 Fashion Cuts  Hazel Clark of Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory discussed public and social media and fashion’s role in global culture with Tim Gunn, television personality, author, and former head of Parsons’ fashion programs, and Scott Schuman, fashion blogger (The Sartorialist). www.newschool.edu/fashioncuts 2 Parsons Scholars  An exhibition in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center of work by Parsons Scholars—New York City public school students in Parsons’ three-year college preparatory program in art and design. www.newschool.edu/parsons/design-scholarship 3 MFA Fine Arts at The Kitchen  An exhibition of work in a range of media by graduating students at The Kitchen in Chelsea. www.newschool.edu/parsons-kitchen-2011

3 MFA Fine Arts at The Kitchen

4 SoundAffects  Parsons and the creative agency mono created SoundAffects, a multimedia installation and interactive website, to explore design in urban life. SoundAffects collected data from sensors placed near the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street, transforming activity into music and visuals. soundaffectsnyc.com 5 Festival Block Party  Block party attendees enjoyed playing with ColorBots—motorized plastic cups that dispense color to create swirling patterns—devised by faculty members from the School of Art, Media, and Technology. www.newschool.edu/parsons-colorbots 6 Fashion Benefit  The annual benefit, which kicked off the festival, honored Parsons alumnus Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach and founder of his own collection. The 2012 benefit will honor Donna Karan and Sheila C. Johnson. Shown here is a look by Katherine Kim, BFA Fashion Design '11. www.newschool.edu/parsons/2012-fashion-benefit 7 ICFF Metropolis Booth  In a studio led by designer David Stark, Parsons students created a completely recyclable temporary installation to serve as Metropolis’ booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), a leading industry conference and fair. www.newschool.edu/parsons-icff-2011

7 ICFF Metropolis Booth

8 Transatlantic Program  Brian McGrath led a workshop for the Atlantis transatlantic program of the U.S. Department of Education and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture. Students from Parsons and KU Leuven, Belgium, developed socially inclusive responses to urbanization, migration, and climate change in Baltimore. Projects are exhibited in Re-Cycle at Rome’s MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts. sds.parsons.edu/atlantis 9 Thesis Shows at 6 East 16th Street  Graduating students transformed the 12th floor of 6 East 16th Street into a gallery featuring works from the BFA Communication, Design and Technology, and Illustration programs and the MFA Photography program. The opening reception attracted crowds that lined up around the block.

9 Thesis Shows at 6 East 16th Street

6 Fashion Benefit





PORTFOLIO For this feature, students were asked to select and comment on end-of-year work by their peers, an assignment that gave them an opportunity to reflect critically on creative work outside of but related to their own practice

Applying Psychology to Design by Emily Sappington emilysappington.com


EMILY SAPPINGTON BFA INTEGRATED DESIGN ’11 Parsons’ interior design programs stand apart in their emphasis on human behaviors and perceptions as considerations in the analysis of interior spaces. Design is a social practice rather than just a visual discipline, and in that context, Emily Sappington’s book, Applying Psychology to Design, is of particular interest to designers of all disciplines. Her book and digital versions introduce designers to concepts like in-group bias and mere exposure effect that are relevant to creative industries. Users can peruse the book or sort terms by discipline online, using touch-screen tablets or portable media. Sappington offers designers tools with which to make their work more effective and a common language to use with marketers and others developing products and services. She advocates for introducing psychological research early in the design process, where it best serves all parties.



KATTY HOELCK BFA FASHION DESIGN ’11 Inspired by Southern California wildfires, Katty Hoelck’s BFA collection grew from a fabricated story of loss—that of a woman whose home has been destroyed by fire. A sustainably dyed print introduces the palette and image of a turbulent smoke-filled sky, roiling with memories. The structured ultrasuede vest stands away from the body like a shell protecting the wearer against the suffering caused by loss. The sturdy fabric and the imagery of the double-sided print suggest a displaced woman prepared to begin anew with only the clothes on her back, though the fire cloud print indicates that she will continue to travel with the ghosts of her past.





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Lisa Gonzalez’s photographs illuminate problematic aspects of American suburbia. The immaculate exteriors and perfect geometries of suburban homes hint at what is missing: a human presence. Gonzalez’s residences seem to reflect idealized notions of life more than actual human experience. Embodying the American dream, the homes bear no trace of the human hand or evidence of the interactions between structures and their inhabitants. On the other hand, the pristine facades suggest the impressive efficiency of modern suburban dwellings, which in spite of their sterility and impersonality might offer designers some lessons. The tension between these messages heightens the critical quality of Gonzalez’s work.

Sonia Scarr’s senior thesis project is an artistic call for action to reform the American food system. The work’s triptych structure alludes to early religious icons, suggesting the precious nature of the information presented. The piece centers on a ripe Granny Smith apple, representing wholesome food, which is juxtaposed with vials of chemicals that symbolize the food additives we ingest daily. Scarr’s silkscreened typefaces alternate between vintage and modern styles, reinforcing her commentary on the food industry of the past versus that of today. With phrases like “in your hands is the power to decide on the matter you put into your self,” Scarr inspires the viewer to question food politics and take action.

The Case of the American Food System by Sonia Scarr





BOBAE MOON BFA PRODUCT DESIGN ’11 Bobae Moon’s Qupre therapeutic jewelry collection represents a marriage of form and function. Moon’s dramatic pieces are designed to stimulate acupressure points on the wearer’s hands, improving circulation and energy flow in the body. Motivated by a desire to create beautiful accessories and introduce people to acupressure as a means of counteracting the stresses of city life, Moon succeeds on both fronts. Her jewelry’s aesthetic qualities evoke ancient cultural artifacts yet have a fashionably modern appeal. Bold, graphic shapes shimmer in luxurious materials, making sophisticated statements while enabling wearers to, in Moon’s words, “take direct action” on behalf of their own well-being.

Qupre jewelry collection by Bobae Moon






“PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING THE HOUSE.” STEVEN SCRIBNER, M.ARCH ’11, MAKES THAT POLITE BUT DETERMINED REQUEST OF VISITORS TO EMPOWERHOUSE, THE HOME HE AND HIS TEAMMATES BUILT ON THE NATIONAL MALL FOR THE 2011 SOLAR DECATHLON. SCRIBNER IS PART OF A TEAM MADE UP OF STUDENTS FROM PARSONS; THE MILANO SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, MANAGEMENT, AND URBAN POLICY AT THE NEW SCHOOL; AND STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. SURVEYING THE SOGGY COMPETITION GROUNDS FROM A SPACIOUS PORCH, SCRIBNER IS JUSTIFIABLY CONCERNED. MEMBERS OF THE PRESS ARE TRACKING IN MUD AS THEY TOUR EMPOWERHOUSE AND MEET THE STUDENTS WHO CREATED IT. SCRIBNER’S GOAL IN KEEPING THE HOUSE CLEAN, HE EXPLAINS, ISN’T TO IMPRESS VISITORS OR THE DECATHLON JUDGES AS MUCH AS IT IS TO PRESERVE THE HOUSE FOR ITS NEXT LIFE. EMPOWERHOUSE IS ABOUT TO BECOME A HOME FOR LAKIYA CULLEY AND HER SONS, A WASHINGTON, DC, FAMILY CHOSEN BY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY (SEE “CONNECTED,” PAGE 18), AND AS SCRIBNER AND OTHERS AWAIT CULLEY’S ARRIVAL, HE WANTS HER NEW HOME TO LOOK ITS BEST. “IT’S NOT OUR HOME ANYMORE; IT’S LAKIYA’S.” For the Empowerhouse team, the Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was both an academic exercise and a real-world mandate. Their building was the first decathlon project designed from the outset as a permanent home for DC families. The university team collaborated with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC, and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development to secure a double lot in Deanwood, a neighborhood on DC’s eastern border. Now that the Solar Decathlon is over, the Empowerhouse erected on the Mall has been transported to the Deanwood property to be expanded; the Culleys will occupy that structure. In the spring, another family will be selected for a mirror-image Empowerhouse being constructed on site. “The students have demonstrated not only that community-partnered projects have real, lasting effects on neighborhoods and individual lives but that design can support sustainable ways of living as well,” observes Joel Towers, Parsons’ executive dean. That support extends to Habitat for Humanity even now. Habitat architects have been studying Empowerhouse’s environmentally and economically sustainable construction methods for home building over the course of the project. “Habitat is incorporating construction techniques developed for Empowerhouse into

a number of new homes being built in the area. We want these advanced methods to filter out into mainstream home-building industries as well,” says Towers. That may be exactly the broad impact the Solar Decathlon’s founder had in mind. The contest was conceived in the late 1990s by Richard King, program manager in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. King was exploring ways to popularize the electricity-producing silicon panels known as photovoltaics (PVs). “The market wasn’t moving. People didn’t know what to do with them, and they wouldn’t accept slapping them on top of their roofs,” he recalls. The federal government enlisted the academic community to help win the public over to PV use. King’s office invited university teams to design, build, and operate attractive solar homes as a way to raise awareness about solar technology and other energy-saving measures. A competition was conceived, judged on ten categories related to building a comfortable, energy-efficient home and publicizing its solar-powered features. The Solar Decathlon was born. Academia responded enthusiastically. Fourteen universities in the United States and Puerto Rico erected solar homes on the National Mall for the first Solar Decathlon, in 2002. The competition has been held

every two years since 2005, each time attracting greater attention and international participation. The decathlon has done much to promote solar energy, but cost presents a formidable barrier to mainstream use of PVs. The initial investment remains among the highest for a green technology. This point is vividly illustrated by the 2009 decathlon winner, created by a team from Technische Universität Darmstadt. The use of PVs on the entire exterior surface of the house brought the total budget to about $800,000. Recognizing PVs’ off-putting expense, King and his DOE team introduced an Affordability category among its ten contests for the 2011 competition. Teams that achieved a construction cost of $250,000 or less would be awarded all 100 points of the Affordability contest. Those whose solar homes cost more than $250,001 would see their points in the category drop off on a sliding scale from 100 to 0. Empowerhouse, which rang up at $229,890, was the least expensive house in the competition, receiving the full 100 points. “Our students wanted to put solar power and sustainable design within financial reach of anyone,” recalls Laura Briggs, an assistant professor in Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE). Associate professor



Opposite, left: “Empowerhouse’s holistic design reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the team,” Parsons professor Laura Briggs says. More than 200 students from a range of degree programs participated in the project, with 20 or so faculty and staff members acting in supervisory roles.

Empowerhouse Formula for Maximizing Energy Conservation

Opposite, right: The Empowerhouse team chose wood as the main building material for finishes, siding, and structure, even using wood floor beams as wall supports, because the renewable material outperforms steel and concrete in the long term. Below: Residents of Deanwood—the DC community where this Empowerhouse is now located—wanted a large open kitchen area for gathering. Students created or selected all of the room’s contents.










“Our students wanted to put solar power and sustainable design within financial reach of anyone.” — LAURA BRIGGS, assistant professor Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments

Sixteen 260-watt solar panels produce 4.2 kilowatts at peak production. An airtight building envelope controls interior temperatures. Triple-paned windows insulate the home; large windows on the south side admit sunlight to heat the interior.

David Lewis, an SCE colleague, emphasizes the students’ sense of social responsibility. The team, he says, “thought about affordability as a factor in American home building more than as a contest to be won.” Designing for modest upfront costs offered the best hope for achieving both objectives. In particular, maximizing affordability meant minimizing use of PVs. Empowerhouse has the smallest PV installation in this year’s Solar Decathlon. To compensate for the loss in energy production, the team focused on conservation, employing Passive House principles in its design. This energy standard, which originated in Germany, calls for airtight, well-insulated homes that require no mechanical heating or cooling. Passive House works in tandem with net zero energy systems, making homes affordable in both capital investment and daily usage. One of Empowerhouse’s Passive House elements is a 12-inch wall cavity filled with cellulose insulation—a green alternative to fiberglass and foam—which allows the roof and walls to maintain comfortable interior temperatures. The team installed triplepaned windows placed to collect the sun’s heat during cold months. Some windows are set within beveled surrounds angled to draw in every last ray of sunlight. Students also positioned water service lines to minimize heat loss. Inside, an electric water heater recovers heat from a clothes dryer’s exhaust,

and dehumidified exhaust from the water heater provides cooling. Simply put, whatever warmth or coolness enters the house stays there, doing double and triple duty. Before designing for the Deanwood community, described by its citizen’s association as “a stable nucleus of blue- and white-collar Black families” with a “strong sense of economic independence and self-reliance,” the Empowerhouse team spent time there listening and sharing. Led by DC Advisory Neighborhood commissioner Sylvia Brown and the community group Groundwork Anacostia River DC, students conducted door-to-door visits, community meetings, and presentations to get input from local residents on design elements that figured into the final plan. A wide porch for gathering and an open kitchen and living space instead of formal dining quarters were two features Deanwood residents favored. The inclusion of a kitchen island accommodates the multitasking required of parents; in addition, the built-in worktop replaces a furniture purchase with a capital expense rolled into a mortgage—an elegant, resourceful solution. Discussing features such as the kitchen’s design, Lewis explains that “Empower” refers less to the energy produced on site and more to residents’ role as partners in the design process. The partnership yields highly functional and aesthetically pleasing results. “It’s not meant to look affordable; it’s meant to be costed affordably,” says Lewis.

In addition to placing first in the Affordability contest, Empowerhouse received a perfect score in the Hot Water contest and took 13th place in overall ranking. But the most eagerly anticipated victory is taking place now, ten miles from the Mall in Deanwood, where the expanded Solar Decathlon project and second house are going up. Meanwhile Habitat is treating the students’ prototype as a “training ground,” in the words of Teresa Hamm, DC Habitat's senior project manager. The nonprofit is currently applying Passive House principles to 11 homes in the District of Columbia; Hamm links the projects’ use of energy recovery ventilators directly to Empowerhouse, and construction crews’ framing, insulating, and sealing techniques to the education they’ve received from students. “The Empowerhouse model is relevant to Habitat’s work because the low-income families we serve greatly benefit from homes that are affordable to heat, cool, and otherwise power,” adds Kent Adcock, president and CEO of DC Habitat. “We hope to promote Passive House design standards, and building methods we’ve learned through our Solar Decathlon experience, to Habitat affiliates around the country.” That approach to sustainability could also extend to private industry. In West Virginia, for example, former DC Habitat executive Dave Gano (also the supplier of Empowerhouse’s windows)



Above: Students check the mechanicals, which are tucked into a closet off the entryway. Ducts and service lines run overhead, creating a cloistered entrance hall that opens out onto the light-filled living room and kitchen.

is establishing a Passive House school for contractors to service markets for all socioeconomic levels. The Empowerhouse team considers work undertaken for the Solar Decathlon as a means to several ends. The students have illustrated the benefits of Passive House and other best practices, which Habitat for Humanity is now employing in home building in the region. In the meantime, the second Empowerhouse is being built with Habitat in Deanwood to join the first. Both houses will have families living in them by next summer, each with children who will grow up in a home where sustainability is an integral part of daily life. Students working on the ongoing project acquired extensive knowledge about sustainability and collaboration, as did those on Habitat’s staff. As Steven Scribner puts it, “What we’re doing is laying a foundation and then scaling it up. This house is just the beginning.”

MANY HANDS TO BUILD A HOME Empowerhouse was made possible by many individual and corporate sponsors whose generosity deserves mention. Parsons would especially like to thank the following supporters: FOUNDERS CIRCLE PARTNER Binational Softwood Lumber Council SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS District Department of the Environment Forestry Innovation Investment General Growth Properties, Inc. Sheila C. Johnson and the Washington Mystics Jones Lang LaSalle Tess Dempsey Design U.S. Department of Solar Energy


SOLAR INNOVATORS The Dow Chemical Company John L. Tishman Scholarships for Sustainable Development, Design and Construction Metropolitan Life Insurance Company


For a complete list of donors, visit parsit.parsons.edu/sponsors.

Crowning Empowerhouse is a south-facing roof terrace. Like its patio and open kitchen, this feature was conceived expressly for Deanwood. The habitable rooftop is intended to encourage small-scale urban farming to provide fresh produce. Parsons students also helped create the Deanwood Learning Garden, a community garden with decorative and edible perennials located a short walk from Empowerhouse. Local teachers can use the garden as a resource for lessons on ecology, food systems, and other topics. Alison Mears, director of the undergraduate Architectural and Interior Design programs at Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments, oversaw student work on the garden; the project was a collaboration with Groundwork Anacostia River DC, a local environmental group, and the DC Department of Housing an––d Community Development. During the two weeks of the Solar Decathlon, Empowerhouse team members and Groundwork Anacostia volunteers made the garden a reality. Local residents and students moved dirt and mulch, constructed raised beds, and planted blueberry bushes, fruit trees, and other hardy flora. “The garden offers lessons about sustainability and new models of economic development for the community,” said Dennis Chestnut, executive director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC. “Parsons made a total investment in the Deanwood community.”




Right: Lakiya Culley, Habitat for Humanity’s home owner candidate, and her sons, CJ, Christopher, and Camari, in Deanwood, the neighborhood where Empowerhouse is being built. Above: Culley and Empowerhouse’s Carly Berger, M.Arch ’12, relax in the Empowerhouse living room and look out at plantings on the deck.

CONNECTED FOR MONTHS, THE EMPOWERHOUSE TEAM HAS BEEN PARTNERING WITH DC LOCAL LEADERS AND RESIDENTS TO DEVELOP AN AFFORDABLE, SUSTAINABLE TWO-FAMILY HOME TO MEET COMMUNITY NEEDS. NOW THAT ONE UNIT HAS BEEN BUILT AND DISPLAYED IN THE SOLAR DECATHLON, IT IS TIME FOR THE STUDENTS TO MEET EMPOWERHOUSE’S FUTURE OCCUPANTS, LAKIYA CULLEY AND HER FAMILY. Spirits are high at the opening ceremonies of Solar Decathlon 2011, in West Potomac Park on the National Mall. Richard King, the decathlon’s director, and New Jersey senator Robert Menendez joke that it’s rare in Washington to get anything done in three months—let alone build a solar home. King welcomes the decathlon participants, most of whom have traveled far from home to take part in the U.S. Department of Energy’s biannual event, but one government worker in the crowd hasn’t traveled far at all; her house is close by. About 100 yards away, to be exact. Lakiya Culley, an administrative staff member of the U.S. Department of State, is here as the future occupant of Empowerhouse’s entry in the Solar Decathlon.


Below: Empowerhouse engineer Dan Tipaldo, of Stevens Institute of Technology, demonstrates the energy-monitoring system to Kate Nigro of Dow Solar.








Built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity DC, the efficient, solar-powered home will be moved to Deanwood, the DC neighborhood where Culley has lived for the past 15 years with family, after the decathlon. Next spring, Culley’s home will have another floor added to it and be joined to a companion house, and she and her family will move in. “It happened pretty fast,” says Culley, describing the process of applying for a home with Habitat. “I’m excited to see my new home up close. It’s DC’s first solar house—it’s like a part of history. I’ve met some of the Empowerhouse people before, but I’m looking forward to meeting more.” Meanwhile, the Solar Decathlon teams prepare for the arrival of press and VIPs. The Empowerhouse students are especially eager to meet Culley. The team’s many meetings during the past two years with Deanwood community leaders like DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Sylvia Brown and local residents ensure that the house will fit into the neighborhood. But will Lakiya like the Empowerhouse? Feel at home in it? Will her three young sons play on the wide porch and climb into the loft, looking out on a space they’ll feel is theirs? Questions like these are on the mind of Carly Berger, a third-year M.Arch student working on the home’s design and communications plan, as she adjusts a framed photo of Culley and her sons on a kitchen shelf. “I want to get to know Lakiya and her boys—what they like to do, how they’ll use the house. This is a human project—it’s not a science project,” says Berger. “As an architect, I’m proud of the design but most excited about making a sustainable home that won’t demand much from its owner. And it won’t cost much to maintain, either: We predict Empowerhouse will save Lakiya $140 per month in utilities.” Chris Piuggi, an interaction designer and research assistant in the MFA Design and

Technology program, picks up the conversation. “Empowerhouse isn’t a ‘smart home’; it’s a home to support smart home owners,” he says. “Our plan was to design ways to make sustainable living easier. We hope that Lakiya and her sons find ways to make monitoring their energy usage fun and share what they learn with neighbors.” Piuggi calls attention to a feature that apprises Empowerhouse’s occupants of their energy use habits: a monitor that dynamically tracks power consumption and production in the house. Vasilis Kyriacou, a recent BFA Design and Technology graduate working on the energy-logging interface, explains that he explored using the system for an interactive game challenging Lakiya's family to conserve energy. A moment later, Culley arrives at Empowerhouse, accompanied by Habitat staff. Peering into a child’s bedroom, she is met by Laura Briggs, a lead faculty advisor for Empowerhouse and an assistant professor in Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE). Culley smiles as she takes in the home’s open plan, with its central table for gathering and eating. Briggs introduces Culley to Berger, and the two chat on the couch about Culley’s sons—CJ, who is five; Christopher, four; and Camari, just shy of eight months—and the messy art projects they’ll undertake at the kitchen table. “Everyone’s been asking me, ‘What is a solar home, and how can I get one? What are you going to do with the money you save on electric bills?’ I think I’m going to be doing a lot of house tours,” predicts Culley. “I can’t believe we’re going to live here; this is going to change our lives,” she says, looking out onto the back porch, where herbs grow in planters. Showing Culley the framed family photographs the students have placed around Empowerhouse, Berger beams as if her life has been changed just as much.




SHINING EXAMPLES Reunion 2011 featured the first-ever alumni exhibition; Parsons DC alumni sponsored Team Empowerhouse


Top: David Bruce and Tess Dempsey, BFA Product Design ’88, a sponsor of Empowerhouse Above: John E. Hall, director of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Lakiya Culley, Habitat for Humanity home owner candidate, look out over the Solar Decathlon 2011 homes. Right: Habitat for Humanity home owner candidate Lakiya Culley meets with John Clinton, director of the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program, and Mary Watson, associate dean for Academic Affairs, both of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School; and Dee MacDonald-Miller, BFA ’75, an Empowerhouse sponsor.

A September 2009 gathering of the Parsons DC chapter of the New School Alumni Association marked the beginning of an important project that brought together the university community to propose new models of sustainable affordable housing. At the time, Parsons, Milano, and Stevens Institute of Technology were joining forces to apply for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. Executive Dean Joel Towers met with the DC chapter to explore ways for local alumni to help the university team build and run a solar-powered home on the National Mall for the biannual international event and support environmentally sound, economical homebuilding techniques. Many members of the Parsons community, including the alumni mentioned below, deserve recognition and thanks for their contributions. DEE MACDONALD-MILLER, BFA ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN ’75, a New School Alumni Association board member and chair of the Parsons DC alumni group, sought ways for her company, Jones Lang LaSalle, to sponsor the team, called Empowerhouse. Looking for a co-worker ally, she met JEAN SAVITSKY, AAS INTERIOR DESIGN ’95, a managing director of the Chief Operating Office, Energy and Sustainability Services. MacDonald-Miller knew that Savitsky was a Stevens grad but not that she was a Parsons alum as well. The university is grateful to have Jones Lang LaSalle as a Sustainability Partner for Team Empowerhouse. TESS DEMPSEY, BFA PRODUCT DESIGN ’88, is a member of Parsons’ board of governors and a Sustainability Partner for Team Empowerhouse. Dempsey has recently been designing boat interiors and so is familiar with the challenges of working with limited space. She was intrigued by students’ solutions for the Solar Decathlon home. SHEILA C. JOHNSON, chair of Parsons’ board of governors, was drawn to the university by student work, and it has sustained her interest and support for many years. A resident of the DC area, Johnson has enjoyed attending local events related to this project, including the ground breaking for the Empowerhouse home in the DC neighborhood of Deanwood. She is also a Sustainability Partner for Team Empowerhouse. Other alumni who are owed thanks for their contributions to this project include BOB BILICKI, BFA FINE ARTS ’81; PAMELA SAMS, BFA ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN ’88; and JACKIE GRAY, MA HISTORY OF DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN ’07.


1,3: Kay Unger, Fashion Design ’67, a member of Parsons’ board of governors and the New School board of trustees; one of Unger's fashion sketches 2: Ivory Corset. Colette Komm, BFA Fashion Design ’04 4: Baker City, Washington. July 2008. Brad Hamilton, BFA Communication Design ’89 5, 7: Visitors view alumni work at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.


6: It’s Your Turn. Eva Neesemann, AAS Graphic Design ’05

3 1

8: Barbara Brailowsky, AAS Illustration ’81







On Friday, October 21, more than a hundred attendees of Parsons Reunion 2011 (October 21–22) gathered at the Aronson Galleries of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center to celebrate the opening of the inaugural Parsons Alumni Exhibition. Members of the Parsons community and the public mingled in the gallery, viewing more than 50 pieces in a range of media. The exhibition was an effort led by Pam Klein, Parsons’ associate dean of Student Affairs, whose curatorial team chose recent alumni works from the hundreds submitted. The show featured pieces by Parsons graduates from the past half-century who collectively represent the rich history and disciplinary breadth of Parsons. Taking in the crowd, DANNY MALONEY, BFA ILLUSTRATION ’89, said, “It was great seeing pieces by fellow alumni I work with as well as ones by old friends. Art brings people out to reconnect.”




SOCIAL ENTERPRISE The alumni featured here employ their practice to bring people together: at exhibitions to examine the social dimensions of design, in public spaces to enjoy art, and on interactive platforms for learning. Others launch successful ventures, bringing their designs to market.



“I design for the thinking man’s sex symbol,” says New York fashion designer Prabal Gurung. “I really try to find that balance between feminine lines and strong, sculptural silhouettes.” For spring 2012, his seventh collection, Gurung did just that, combining strength with sultriness, pairing rich purples, metallics, and geometric cuts with flouncy fabrics and strategically placed panels of sheer material. Born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Gurung studied at the New Delhi National Institute of Fashion Technology and apprenticed with Manish Arora. In 1999, he moved to Manhattan to intern at Donna Karan while attending Parsons. During his first year, he was named Best Designer in the school’s annual competition with FIT. “You feel the creativity up and down every hallway,” says Gurung. “Parsons allowed me to find my way not only in fashion and design, but also in a city where I knew no one. I was exposed to all different realms of design, and it became a crucial time for me in my career.”

On graduating, he spent two years at Cynthia Rowley and five as Bill Blass’ design director before hanging out his own shingle in 2009. Today he dresses powerhouse women: First Lady Michelle Obama, Demi Moore, Zoe Saldana. He has received accolades including a CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award and was recently named a finalist in the National Design Awards, given by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Right now Gurung is working on pre-fall and fall 2012 collections and collaborating with Linda Farrow on a line of sunglasses—appropriate, since Gurung’s future looks very bright indeed.





Dong Yoon Park’s career path reflects both his passion for typography and design and his technical expertise. Trained in electrical engineering, Park worked in software research at Samsung Electronics until his interest in visual communication led him to enroll at the Samsung Art & Design Institute. After learning about Parsons’ Design and Technology program, he moved from South Korea to study here. At Parsons, Park developed mobile applications that help him share creative work widely. His master’s thesis, Typography Insight, is an iPad app that he hopes others will consider “a good use of a high-resolution screen and gesture-driven interface to support learning.” He also created an elegant intuitive app that introduces users to Parsons and a resource-rich app for the New School community. Hopeful about app developments for education, Park predicts a future of “great innovations using sensor technologies like tangible displays, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and GPS and voice recognition.” In 2011, Park relocated to Seattle for a new position as UX designer at Microsoft—another step in his already impressive professional journey.




“Design is everywhere, helping us interface with the world,” says Andrea Lipps. “Objects particularly resonate for me, encapsulating progress, memory, and social and cultural values.” As curatorial assistant at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Lipps helps organize exhibitions that demonstrate the social and historical importance of contemporary design. From 2008 to 2010, she played a key role in the National Design Triennial exhibition Why Design Now? More recently, she worked on Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, an exhibition installed at the United Nations. Lipps says, “I feel fortunate that I’ve had the chance to contribute to these exhibitions, exploring how design shapes our lives and learning from living designers about their work.” In addition to working as a curatorial assistant, Lipps teaches at Parsons. In spring 2010, she and Matilda McQuaid, deputy curatorial director and head of Textiles at the Cooper-Hewitt, co-taught an interdisciplinary graduate-level course called Inside an Exhibition. “Teaching allows me to further explore design in the world around us. Often I feel I’m the student as much as the instructor.” www.cooperhewitt.org






After graduating from Parsons, Nancy Vignola parlayed a part-time job with Ralph Lauren—then a small fashion firm—into a full-time position. During her 30-year career there, she developed its start-up home division into a design phenomenon, later taking the helm as president of Ralph Lauren Corporation. “In the beginning, there were 14 people in the corporate office designing accessories and small collections of women’s and men’s apparel,” recalls Vignola. “Ralph was renovating vacation homes for his young family and turning his attention to interiors, noticed an opportunity for me, and put me in charge.” Vignola launched the Ralph Lauren Home Collection, a revolutionary marketing concept at the time. After inaugurating the line with four decor themes, from tropical to log cabin, Vignola developed and brought to market 25,000 items as part of the collection—all within two years. The rest is luxury brand history. Today Vignola focuses on the home away from home: hotels. “With my background in home furnishing products, store and fashion design, and travel, I understand the standards and aesthetics of the hospitality industry,” explains Vignola. “I decided to create a comprehensive resource of compelling products for the global hospitality industry.” Vignola launched Marshall Quentin in May 2011; the company is already working with design firms on hotel properties in Nicaragua, Egypt, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States. “My vision is to offer beautifully designed products that enhance the guest experience and the value of the hotel brand,” says Vignola. “Great products give credibility to a brand—not the other way around.” www.marshallquentin.com




“‘The sky’s the limit’ is a concept Parsons uses to inspire conceptual thinking and creativity in problem solving,” explains Mary F. Pisarkiewicz, founder and chief creative officer of the brand development company Pisarkiewicz Mazur & Co. Inc. “That approach holds true in the real world. Start grand; you can always scale it back later.” Such expansive thinking is evident in the creative solutions Pisarkiewicz’s company has brought to more than 90 companies, products, and services, including American Express, HBO, Kraft Foods, and Warner Music Group. The company has won more than 100 brand design awards, and in 2010, Pisarkiewicz received the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Award, presented to three top women entrepreneurs in the United States. Recently Pisarkiewicz has been applying her creativity to food, one of her passions. “I’ve been been cooking up a storm, writing recipes, and working on a cookbook.” She also maintains a food blog, Love the Secret Ingredient (lovethesecretingredient.net). “It’s exciting to take knowledge from one industry and apply it to another,” says Pisarkiewicz. designpm.com marysfineart.wordpress.com





“I look to make art more accessible and enjoyable, so that it becomes an everyday experience for people,” says Callie Danae Hirsch. Hirsch’s work Vast was recently installed in New York’s Rockaway Beach subway station as part of the MTA Permanent Arts for Transit Program, allowing thousands of commuters in the Rockaways to encounter her art daily. Her mural, consisting of 15 faceted-glass panels mounted on an outdoor platform, superimposes a translucent seascape over the view of the Atlantic Ocean. “I want viewers to consider and embrace their own connection to the natural world,” Hirsch explains. Hirsch enjoys having her art seen outside the confines of an art gallery, although she has frequently exhibited in New York City and was invited to show at the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea in Florence in 2001. Hirsch's designs appeared on packaging for the popular Sweetriot candies, and her paintings were recently purchased by Hotel 718 in Brooklyn.

Seeking a change after years of working in the music industry, Gabriel J. Shuldiner applied to Parsons because it seemed to offer “the perfect amalgamation of all things creative.” He immersed himself in painting and wrote a thesis on the color black. Shuldiner describes the Fine Arts program as “a warm, insular gold mine in the larger metropolis of The New School.” In 2011, Shuldiner was chosen for the Bronx Museum’s Artist In the Marketplace emerging artist program. He has shown his huge highly textured black paintings at the museum, Wave Hill, and the Christopher Henry Gallery. In 2010, Shuldiner launched Fleurs du Mal, a jewelry collection whose name was borrowed from a book of poetry by Charles Baudelaire. “My jewelry is an extension of my paintings; the body merely replaces the wall.” “In my studio, I feel like a kid in a candy store,” says Shuldiner, who is patenting his own shade of black. “Wherever it leads, I know I am doing exactly what I should be doing.”






BFA Environmental Design ’84 School of Constructed Environments

ALEX LEE President of OXO

Alex Lee studied at Parsons and Harvard before joining OXO, then a small household products firm. In his 17 years as OXO’s president, Lee has built a global powerhouse that has won the respect of the design community and the loyalty of consumers with its functional and aesthetically appealing goods. www.oxo.com

METHODS AND PHILOSOPHIES GOOD DESIGN FOR ALL OXO pioneered universal access housewares, offering consumers functional and aesthetically pleasing goods that are easy to use. OXO products feature a clear but intriguing design language. DESIGN PROCESS Watching users interact with goods is more productive than asking users about their experience. Clearly articulating design challenges leads to effective solutions. FLEXIBILITY AND OPENNESS Open workspaces foster collaboration, creativity, and flexibility in entrepreneurial teams. Says Lee, “Among small companies, the most flexible ones win.” REVISITING AND REWORKING It's important to learn from mistakes and launch products only when they are ready. OXO’s LiquiSeal Travel Mug was revamped to correct design flaws, resulting in a successful product. WIDGET PEOPLE OXO employees are passionate users of the products they develop. “Matching the people to the project helps us develop successful goods,” says Lee.






–19 8

Lee is born in Hong Kong. He comes to Parsons to study product design after considering a career in music.


After Parsons, Lee works for architect Michael Graves, first managing the model shop and eventually creating products. He designs products for firms including Steelcase and Alessi. Lee enjoys working in a design team and decides on design as a career path.


“At Parsons, I got a good conceptual grounding, which I feel ultimately helps you more than technical training does. You need both; but you have to go out and learn by doing.”

1990: Sam Farber launches OXO Good Grips with 15 products, including the iconic swivel peeler. AT M



“A good conceptual grounding trains you to think creatively, in design or business.”


RA VE S (1


Lee applies to Harvard Business School and gets in on his second try. At Harvard, Lee interns with Black & Decker’s Household Division, confirming his decision to work in home goods, furniture, or audio equipment. Narrowing his focus helps Lee’s job search.


After a few years working with Graves, Lee tires of creating expensive decorative design objects and wants to make mass-distributed functional goods with a clean, modern aesthetic.



Lee comes to believe that he would have more influence over the design direction of consumer product–manufacturing companies by entering firms from the business side.

“If designers don’t learn how to work with the business people, the business people will take over design.”

1992: Sam Farber sells OXO to General Housewares Corp. AT H








92– 199


Farber retires in 1995, and Lee is tapped as his successor. He builds a team of smart people who develop products together.




OXO’s business grows, and the staff is reorganized from functional roles into teams for product categories. Headquarters are reconfigured to encourage collaboration while maintaining a flexible atelier-like environment.

After Harvard, Lee seeks work with design-driven businesses and gets six offers. He meets with Sam Farber.

1994: Sam Farber offers Lee a job. Intrigued by the opportunity to work with a successful entrepreneur, Lee joins OXO.

“For the first time in the United States, design gives companies a major competitive edge.”



1997: OXO Good Grips launches its innovative salad spinner.

A pharmaceutical company approaches Lee about developing pre-filled syringes for self-administering rheumatoid arthritis medicine. The design challenge helps the company expand into new sectors.




“At OXO, people have the freedom to take risks, to try things.”

By 1999, OXO’s award-winning product line includes 350 pieces, including ones created for national retailers in a range of markets: Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target. The firm’s annual growth consistently exceeds 30 percent.

–pr ese


2009: OXO launches a line of children’s products (OXO Tot) and office products.

OXO adopts new business tools, such as a product development management software system, and develops a knowledge base to guide future work. Today the firm has 100 employees worldwide and a product line of about 850 items.



OUR SUPPORTERS JULY 1, 2010–JUNE 30, 2011 $25,000+ Dominique Bluhdorn Harlan Bratcher Coach Richard Darling Tess Dempsey ’88 Beth Rudin DeWoody Estate of Lucille A. Diorio ’75 The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. David B. Ford Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller Joseph Gromek Victoria Hagan ’84 Sheila C. Johnson Donna Karan ’87 The Karan-Weiss Foundation Reed Krakoff ’89 LF USA LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Inc. E. Peter McLean MCM Worldwide Susan D. Plagemann May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Pamela Thomas-Graham Alyce Williams Toonk Kay Unger ’67 Vogue Nancy Walker Alan Wanzenberg Warnaco, Inc. $10,000–$24,999 Jayne and Leonard Abess, Jr. Jennifer Andrus (P) Takis and Evita Arapoglou (P) Arnold and Sheila Aronson Florence and Serge Azria (P) Lucia T. Benton ’00 The Brown Foundation Michael Donovan ’69 and Nancye Green ’73 Jamie Drake ’78 Drake Design II, Inc. Fred Dust Gilt Groupe Eck Meng Goh Bob Greenberg James B. ’73 and Kate C. ’72 Gubelmann Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Hoerle IDEO Susan M. Lyne R/GA Susan and Byron Roth (P) Lee and Marvin Traub $1,000–$9,999 Martha Alexander ’79 Sidsel Taubo Alpert ’71 Barbara Braun ’90 Mario Buatta ’61 Hal and Andrea Burroughs (P) Harold Burson Frick Byers ’96

John Calcagno ’73 Mike and Alice Chen (P) Benny Kung Wing Cheung (P) College Central Network William and Jane Corbellini ’86 John Di Minico ’80 Bill and Pamela Dutra (P) Marjorie ’51 and Robert Feeney Robin Glasser ’90 Dara and Jay Godfrey ’04 Hallmark Corporate Foundation William Hodgins ’63 Harriet H. Holstein (P) Peggy Keenan Jernigan Trust Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Kawamura (P) Debbie Kuo ’85 Eugene M. Lang Daniel Lashen ’50 Joosun and Mi Kyung Lee (P) Aura V. Levitas Kedakai Lipton ’85 Dee MacDonald-Miller ’75 Macy’s Foundation Mark Mancini ’85 Anelle Miller ’74 William Morrish and Suzanne Dvells (P) Estate of Richard Obus ’62 Michael Oslac (P) Elizabeth ’95 and Robert Pitts Catherine Roberts ’90 Craig Roberts ’75 James and Danielle Roberts ’88 Narciso Rodriguez ’82 Paul F. Rosengard Kurt Salmon Scott Sanders ’98 Steven Schloss and Judith Wilen (P) Johan Schouten and Isabelle Schouten Cardon (P) Denise V. Seegal Kouichi Sekiguchi (P) Meera Singh ’85 Margaret J. Smith ’89 Peter Sole and Helen Mumford-Sole (P) Kristin E. Sorenson and Eric Stark (P) Celina Stabell ’98 Estate of Adri Steckling-Coen ’58 Luis and Maria Suberville (P) The Swatch Group U.S. Tomio Taki The Teck Foundation Michelle and Victor Tiganila (P) Katherine Topaz ’90 Marshall Tycher and Sally Kushner-Tycher (P) Nancy Vignola ’76 Eugene and Angela Weber (P) Jessica Weber ’66 Claire S. Werner ’83 Lilian Shiao-Yen Wu Oi Siong Yeunh and Siew Lee Chew (P) Chong Bok and Rok Ja Yi (P) (P): parent of a current Parsons student

FRANK ALVAH PARSONS SOCIETY Members of the Frank Alvah Parsons Society demonstrate their commitment to Parsons The New School for Design by making gifts of $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund. Members of this prestigious group receive benefits all year round and recognition in re:D. More important, they make a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s design leaders. Annual Fund gifts to Parsons provide unrestricted funds that are allocated wherever the need is greatest. These gifts are key to Parsons’ ability to meet priorities such as scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, and facilities improvement. For more information on the Frank Alvah Parsons Society, please contact HEIDI IHRIG at ihrigh@newschool.edu.

re:D (REGARDING DESIGN) FALL 2011 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Nancy Donner EDITORIAL BOARD Latoya Crump, Amy Garawitz, Sean Moriarty, Jen Rhee PARSONS ADVISORY BOARD Joel Towers, Simon Collins, Anne Gaines, Mark Hannah, Sarah Lawrence, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, William Morrish, Sven Travis MANAGING EDITOR Julie Novacek Godsoe EDITOR John Haffner Layden CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shonquis Moreno, David Sokol ALUMNI RELATIONS Latoya Crump, Amy Garawitz ART DIRECTOR Ed Pusz SENIOR DESIGNER Sarah Daley PRODUCTION COORDINATORS Steven Arnerich, Sung Baik COPY EDITOR Leora Harris PRODUCED BY Communications and External Affairs, The New School LETTERS AND SUBMISSIONS re:D welcomes letters to the editor as well as submissions of original manuscripts, photo submissions, and/or artwork. Unsolicited manuscripts, related materials, photography, and artwork will not be returned. Please include your year of graduation, degree completed, and major or program. ADDRESS CHANGES Please submit your address changes at www.newschool.edu/alumni. CONTACT US re:D, Parsons The New School for Design, 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10003 alumni@newschool.edu or www.newschool.edu/alumni/red PARSONS (760-830) Volume 29, No. 4, December 2011 PARSONS is published six times a year, in July, October, November, December, April, and May by The New School, 66 W. 12th Street, New York, NY 10011. Periodicals postage paid in New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to PARSONS, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011. CREDITS Amira Alkaysi (News & Events); Nathan Bett (News & Events); Davis Carrasquillo (News & Events); Chris Choi (News & Events, Alumni Message); Sarah Daley (Portfolio); DresserJohnson (Pathways); Ben Ferrari (News & Events); Lisa Gonzalez (Portfolio); Yulia Gorbachenko (News & Events); Jonathan Grassi (News & Events); Prabal Gurung (Alumni Profiles); Katarzyna Gruda (Red-Handed); Gretchen Harnick (News & Events); Marie Havens (A Good Showing); Callie Danae Hirsch (Alumni Profiles); Vasilis Kyriacou (Laying Foundations); Dan Lecca (News & Events, Portfolio); Conway Liao (News & Events, Alumni Message); Alison Mears (Laying Foundations); Metropolis magazine (A Good Showing); NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority/Rob Wilson (News & Events); Mary Pisarkiewicz (Alumni Profiles); Danielle Pecora (News & Events); The Project (News & Events); Renny at Colby Models (News & Events); Adam Schwartz (Alumni Profiles); Shingo Shibata (News & Events); Mari Shten (News & Events); Martin Seck (cover, News & Events, A Good Showing, Portfolio, Laying Foundations, Connected, Alumni Message); Michael Skinner (Alumni Profiles); Matthew Sussman (News & Events, Portfolio, Alumni Profiles); Nancy Vignola (Alumni Profiles); David Wanderman (News & Events). The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, gender or sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran or marital status.




Cranking out work for the oil industry at a Calgary, Alberta, graphics firm, Ed Nacional needed a new design exercise regimen. His technical skills got a daily workout, but his conceptual abilities needed strengthening. Nacional found Parsons’ AAS Graphic Design program while researching options with his girlfriend (who had enrolled in The New School’s Nonprofit Management program). Bootcamping with peers from around the world in a city offering daily design inspiration, Nacional developed the clean, witty, sophisticated approach he is known for today. Behind him in this portrait, by Katarzyna Gruda, director of AAS Graphic Design, are illustrations and logos Nacional has created for the New York Times, Friends of Type, and Herb Lester Associates. Other clients include Time, Newsweek, Money, start-ups SkillShare and Liveset, and Live Now.




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Parsons Regarding Design Fall 2011 - A House Becomes a Home  

The Fall 2011 issue of Parsons Regarding Design (Re:D) magazine. Parsons The New School for Design.

Parsons Regarding Design Fall 2011 - A House Becomes a Home  

The Fall 2011 issue of Parsons Regarding Design (Re:D) magazine. Parsons The New School for Design.

Profile for newschool