During this year's New York Design Week, Parsons School of Design hosted its own festival of thesis projects by graduating students in each of its BFA programs. We saw fantastic work from every department, but we were particularly interested in the green product designs exhibited at this year's show - read on for some of our favorites!
ALTO BELLO, BY YOUJIN SUNG
Youjin Sung created a clever handbag for women who wear high heels at work, but wear flats or sneakers on their way to and from it. They typically carry their heels in a plastic bag that they take alongside their actual handbag, but now they can put the heels in with everything else–while still keeping the other contents free of shoe dirt. Each bag, which is specially shaped to fit high heels, has special lined compartments inside that will fit and cover the heel of each shoe.
TU/BE, BY CHRISTOPHER BEATTY
Christopher Beatty’s tu/be is a pair of simple, inexpensive terracotta pots that can hang either together or separately, and are meant to create space for city dwellers to begin growing some of their own food. The tubes are cast in a shipping tube of the same size they’ll be shipped in, so they fit back into it perfectly for delivery by urban agriculture nonprofits to budding urban farmers.
HER, BY MINDY TOM
Mindy Tom‘s Her is not only a fine leather shoulder bag, but a sly social commentary on the sexual objectification of women in public, as well. It’s a hard-shell purse when worn outside clothing, against the wearer’s back (as shown here); but if she wants to avoid catcalls and leering stares, she can slip it under her clothing, against her front, to give herself and instantly pregnant-looking belly. Assuming she doesn’t encounter a pregnancy fetishist, we think it ought to work.
DERMULIN, BY HAYOUNG BAIK
Taking things in an unexpected direction in a truly brilliant way, Hayoung Baik worked with a pharmaceutical technology company to design a whole new, painless way for diabetics to inject insulin. Each Dermulin patch has tiny, water-soluble needles (so small they don’t hurt) that delivery the drug into the skin when a patch is applied.
BREATHE, BY HELEN KIM
Helen Kim‘s Breathe is a humidifier that doesn’t require any external power. An apparently blank white cloth absorbs water from the tray below, and as the water travels upward, a floral or leafy design appears. The water evaporates from the cloth out into the air of the room, and when the cloth dries, the design disappears again–indicating that the tray needs to be refilled.
MASSA, BY YONG YI LI
Yong Yi Li created Massa, an elegant kit of stainless steel tools that help massage therapists use proper technique. Each one is either shaped or has holes to create just the right placement of thumbs, fingers and knuckles. And they’re so pretty, they’re nice just to have–with or without a massage!
DIM SUM, BY JEFF SHIH
Jeff Shih decided to take on an annoyance many dim sum lovers experience weekly: The cluttered table. Now, instead of struggling to find space for all the small plates and bowls that accumulate as diners order more tasty whatnots faster than busboys can clear the table, waiters can simply stack these dim sum dishes atop one another like bamboo steamer baskets. Seems someone would have thought of this ages ago, but apparently they didn’t–so rock on, Jeff!
CONSTRUCTION BLOCKS, BY JARANG KOO
Jarang Koo wanted to create something better than the classic concrete block for amateurs who want (or need, like refugees) to build their own houses. Her construction blocks lock into one another in automatic alignment, without any mortar–and can be stabilized using vertical rods or liquid concrete run through their inside holes, without the need for a bricklayers’ practiced skill.
RE:BUILD, BY JO UN YI
Jo Un Yi‘s Re:Build construction kit uses ordinary waste paper for its rods, which fit onto joint cogs that she designed. It allows kids to essentially make their own toys, while learning about recycling in the process.
MAGPIE, BY JOSHUA INMAN
The Magpie desk by Joshua Inman allows parents with small homes to give their child a dedicated place to create. The top swivels up and out of the way when not in use, and it has storage space (with compartments!) inside for art supplies galore.
SFWOI, BY WILLY CHEN
Willy Chan‘s SFWOI (Soap From Waste Oil Initiative) is a both a beautifully designed and made wooden cart and a opportunity to teach the public about the improper disposal of waste cooking oil. Used cooking oil is supposed to be collected for use as biodiesel, but a huge quantity of it just gets poured into sewers or dumped directly into our waterways. The cart is a rolling soap factory, where the user makes fine, scented soaps from the oil in public–raising awareness of waste oil’s useful alter ego, and the tragedy of its improper disposal and waste.
RE:SPACE, BY YOAV MENACHEM
And last but not least, Yoav Menachem’s brilliant Re:Space is an outdoor seating system that can be easily adjusted to suit the user’s needs. Rotating benches with either two or three arms spin with their wheels locked into a circular track, allowing users to create circles, amphitheaters, or semi-private cocoons, depending on their configuration. And each arm is removable from the center cog, so when a repair or replacement becomes necessary, the rest of the unit can stay intact. Last we heard, the designer was in talks with the City of New York, so hopefully we’ll be seeing some of these in public soon!