Parsons Students Design for Non-Profits

This year seniors at Parsons School of Design were asked to develop designs by working with New York-based non-profit organizations. The results, like last year’s, were cleverly light-hearted in the face of troubled subjects.

Working with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Eunice Kim developed vividly colored floor tiles that could help the sight-impaired navigate through subway stations (as well as brighten up the bleak transit system for the rest of us). The blind can use canes to read the tiles, which are concave or convex to indicate whether the train line runs uptown or downtown, and textured with dots of varying densities to indicate the letter of the subway line.

Former dancer Monica Dancu discovered that after-school violence peaks around 3 PM. Working with an after-school dance program in Harlem, she designed Lycra ligatures that can be wrapped around two or more children while they dance. “I didn’t want to focus on performance,” says Dancu of her approach. The ligatures are designed to be used in class, but not during recitals, in order to develop the kids’ communication skills, coordination, and teamwork.

Danielle Spector believes laughter is the best medicine. To that point, she has created objects for the home that address the behaviors of sufferers of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). For those who fixate on washing, she has designed dishware that will never be rid of painted-on lipstick prints and coffee stains; for those who obsess over order, she has made a bookshelf with depressions, so that the spines of books will never be aligned. Finally, for everyone’s favorite perfectionist, she has created a duvet with slightly crooked and variously “kerned” pinstripes. Spector also generously provides a pamphlet containing an OCD quiz that asks, “How OCD are you?”

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