Parsons School of Design and NIO Life Collaborate to Create Sustainable Design Collection – The New School News

May 20, 2022 by No Comments

Students designed new products with leftover materials from car manufacturing, including air bag fabric, seat belts and buckles, and car seat covers

May 20, 2022

Parsons School of Design and NIO Life Collaborate to Create Sustainable Design Collection

There are almost 300 million registered vehicles in the United States. More than a third of those vehicles are cars, so even if you don’t personally own a car, they impact your life in one way or another.

It’s no secret that having millions of cars on the road isn’t good for the environment, and while car manufacturers around the world are developing electric vehicles to address sustainability issues, there remain other solutions to explore.

Beginning in 2021, Parsons School of Design began a collaboration with NIO, a leading Chinese manufacturer of premium smart electric vehicles, where students designed new products with leftover materials from car manufacturing, including air bag fabric, seat belts and buckles, and car seat covers. Recently, the top three students from the partnership, which spanned the BFA Product Design and BFA Interior Design programs, debuted their designs for a crowdfunding campaign.

“I am of course incredibly grateful to have my design fully realized like this!” shared Hailey Hanson, Product Design ‘22. “I remember my friend sending me a link to the crowdfunding page and seeing the final images of my design being advertised. It was sort of a surreal experience, realizing my design had actually been crowdfunded and was going to be produced.”

Hanson created a hat made from airbag materials, which will be available to buy via NIO Life and their Blue Sky Lab sustainable initiative. The two other finalists in the crowdfunding campaign included Peter Yu’s three-way tote bag and Yanru Qian’s office supply set.

L-R: A piece from Yanru Qian’s office set and Peter Yu’s Three-Way Tote

“The NIO x Parsons Blue Sky Competition centers around sustainability as it challenges students to use recycled car parts to create eco-friendly designs,” explained Joel Stoehr, Director, BFA Product Design. “This is in line with a key focus of the BFA Product Design program, which teaches students how to address contemporary realities including sustainability and technological change while exploring materials, fabrication, aesthetics, and social engagement in both local and global contexts.”

The project challenged students to work with materials they don’t typically encounter in the classroom, while also giving them the opportunity to engage in a very material driven process, and work under the mentorship of Parsons faculty. Students also met virtually with members of the NIO Life production team, who provided invaluable feedback and ideas, as well as exposure to how companies operate in the real world.

“I was particularly interested in this project when I heard about it because of this specific challenge – to design with waste material from NIO’s car production,” explained Hanson. “One of the main challenges I tried to tackle in my design was the waste material that may also be created through the fabrication of the hats. Even though I was already using recycled materials, it was important to me to try to consider the circularity of my own design as well.”

“Partnerships with innovative brands like NIO Life enrich our students, as they are given the opportunity to test their design skills within a practical context that shows them the breadth of what’s possible in their fields,” said Cotter Christian, Associate Dean of …….

Source: https://blogs.newschool.edu/news/2022/05/parsons-school-of-design-and-nio-life-collaborate-to-create-sustainable-design-collection/

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