New School News

Parsons Transdisciplinary Design Students Win Fast Company Innovation By Design Award

Softwalks turns eyesores into pocket gardens. Image by Howard Chambers and Bland Hoke.

Earlier this year, over 1,700 entries flooded Fast Company magazine’s offices for their annual Innovation by Design competition. Out of this highly competitive field, only 56 were selected as finalists. And now, in a ceremony attended by some of the biggest names in the design field, Howard Chambers and Bland Hoke, both graduates of the new MFA Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons The New School for Design, were named winners of the Student Design category for their thesis project, Softwalks.

Softwalks is a kit for turning something that can be a dreary eyesore – urban construction scaffolding – into an actual community asset. It contains hanging seats, counters, planters, and lighting, morphing a shady bit of scaffolding into a tiny oasis. This is perfectly in keeping with the goals of the Trans-Design program, which focuses on project-based design work that incorporates a profound understanding of the ways design transforms social relations. Hoke and Chambers are members of its first graduating class.

The Student Design competition was judged by Carol Lim (co-founder and CEO of Opening Ceremony), Margaret G. Stewart (Director of Product Design at Facebook), and Scott Belsky (co-founder and CEO of Behance). Softwalks is featured in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company and on their website.

To learn more about this project, and other select thesis projects from across Parsons, visit the Parsons Thesis Website.

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