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While The New School in NYC—of which Parsons is a faction—began in 1919 as The New School for Social Research, it also used the name “University in Exile” in 1933. The University in Exile was a graduate division established to serve as a haven for those scholars escaping Nazi Germany and other regimes in Europe. As the research-heavy university grew and was eventually renamed simply “The New School,” it has never forgotten its roots or strong stance as a progressive institution which encourages discussion and a multidisciplinary approach to research. And it is in that spirit that we bring you our “The New School” issue.
When I talk to those in the industry, the multidisciplinary nature of our profession often comes up—whether we are discussing the ways in which interior design informs and is informed by other design mediums, how commercial and residential are becoming more intertwined, or how each portion of a design project needs to work together.
This last consideration always brings ot mind one of the most definitive realizations in my career in regard to the way design is moving. As I was starting out as a draftsman with the architecture and interior design firm NicholsBooth Architects in San Francisco, a friend of mine who works in management for his family’s construction company began to joke that we were now enemies. His reason: Design is done in a vacuum, creating plans which may or may not be feasible, then passed off to those who fabricate and are tasked with redesigning so that the project is possible.
Working for NicholsBooth was an amazing opportunity with a tight-knit staff who didn’t mind a myriad of questions from the recent graduate; instead of wondering why I was in his office, Gary Nichols and I had a great conversation about what my friend had said. He pointed out that with the changing technology and LEED being introduced, we were going to see design become more intertwined with the various aspects of a project. Design charrettes were already an important part of the process, and he believed that the industry would move farther down the path of collaboration.
This has proven to be true. We see it in the work of 13&9 (p. 76)—the Austrian duo making waves across the design world, from working on interior products for companies such as Mohawk and Buzzispace to jewelry to architecture. We see it in the way fashion influences interiors and vice versa (Product Exposé, p. 46), and how technology changes the way we view time-tested products. Of course, saying design has only ever been done in a vacuum is an exaggeration, as Ralph Rapson’s sketches prove, but the way in which our current technology is able to perfect such sketches highlights how design becomes ever more singular.
And, personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how design continues to grow in this way for the rest of my career.
Kadie Yale | Editor in Chief