All-in with Li Edelkoort’s plans to revitalize the textiles industry, this fall The New School’s Parsons School of Design will open a 35,000-square-foot “making center” that will bring together designers of different disciplines and architects all under one roof to develop forward-thinking prototypes that will bolster local and global production.
The school has reconfigured its West 13th Street location to make room for the project, which has been designed and under construction for the past 18 months, according to Joel Towers, dean of Parsons School of Design. A major gift tied to the new maker center will be revealed tonight at the school’s annual gala at Pier Sixty, Towers said.
The plan was unveiled Monday at a press conference for the inaugural New York Textile Month that is set for September. Li Edelkoort, who joined The New School as Dean of Hybrid Studies, instigated the citywide, multi-institution idea.
“If you think about what it means to commit real estate in Greenwich Village to making, you know how serious we feel about this commitment,” said Towers, adding that no other school in New York or, he would argue, anywhere, is devoting so much attention to the future of materiality and making. The hybrid approaches bring together traditional and new materials and technologies across all curriculum.
Designers in interiors, products, accessories and fashion, as well as architects will all be working together in the same space, making prototypes that will bolster local production in New York while understanding the globalized conditions. The school has some experience in the latter, having launched an industrial design program about a year ago that taught students to recognize when they are relying on local materials and when they are working in a global supply chain, and how do they combine those two things. Towers also noted that Parsons has a deep commitment to environmental, social justice, production and cities issues — all of which come together through the transformation of raw materials into the places, spaces and objects of everyday life.