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Design I/O created
Design I/O created "Connected Worlds," a large scale immersive, interactive ecosystem, for the New York Hall of Science

Parsons Design and Technology Alumni Win National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt

Imagine if you could explore the lifespan of a star, create unique virtual environments based on the seeds you choose to plant, or grow a digital tree using your own body. Thanks to the work of Design I/O, visitors to museums, science centers, and other interactive spaces have been able to participate in those activities, and so many more.

Design I/O was founded by Design and Technology alumni Emily Gobeille and Theodore Watson, and the studio, which also includes Nick Hardeman, DT ‘05, recently won the Digital Design award from the Smithsonian Design Museum Cooper Hewitt. Their firm’s work routinely designs collaborative, cutting edge spaces that exist at the center of design, technology, sustainability, and innovation. 

“Receiving this award and recognition from the Cooper Hewitt confirms that the work we are passionate about pursuing is important within the wider design community and is a huge boost for us,” share the founders. “We feel that the principles of open play and visitor led exploration that guides a lot of our projects could reach much wider audiences and we are excited about the possible opportunities winning this award will open up.”

The firm’s work is inspired in large part by the natural world, where the algorithms, processes, and designs that exist in nature provide endless possibilities and ideas for their immersive projects. Design I/O is also inspired by the various ways children approach and learn about complex systems, using playful methods to test and tease out how their interactive installations should work.

Many Parsons alumni go on to collaborate and create together, and Design I/O is no exception, with Watson noting that “The work we do, the tools we use and our whole studio wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for our education at Parsons.”

Next up for Design I/O is a large interactive experience for The Tech Interactive in San Jose, which will explore new sustainable approaches to living and working, as well as an installation for the Chrysler Museum of Art centered around molten glass and glass blowing.

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