Parsons school of design and nio life announce a partnership to foster sustainable design

April 22, 2021
Open Innovation


Parsons school of design and nio life announce a partnership to foster sustainable design


April 22, 2021, New York - Today, pioneer and leading manufacturer of premium smart electric vehicles, NIO and The New School’s Parsons School of Design, one of the world’s leading art and design schools, announced the NIO Life x PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN partnership. The collaborative project is the latest iteration of Blue Sky Lab sustainable project initiative to convene global designers focused on sustainability.

The partnership brings together the talents of Parsons students, the innovative thinking and materials of NIO’s automobile and NIO Life, and the two partners’ shared commitment sustainable lifestyle. The collaborative endeavor will challenge Parsons students to creatively reimagine byproducts of car manufacturing into consumer goods that foster a more environmentally responsible, beautiful world.  

In the partnered project, top undergraduate students from Parsons’ celebrated BFA Product Design and BFA Interior Design programs will work with faculty mentors and NIO Life to transform leftover airbags, seat belts, microfiber, leather and aluminum into apparel and accessories, home goods, outdoor and car life products, travel goods, or footwear. Students will be asked to align their work with NIO Life’s leading-edge philosophies, focus on environmental stewardship, and embrace of global design inspiration.

The creative immersion will begin as Parsons students working remotely from around the world are briefed by NIO Life on the design challenge, which will introduce the young designers to the innovative company’s approaches to creative reuse and holistic sustainability. NIO Life will then supply students with design packs with examples of the materials to be incorporated into their design, along with any secondary sustainable materials. The brief for the project requires the kind of imaginative thinking, sustainable material research, and market-focused work for which Parsons is known.

This coming June, students will present final proposed designs—along with mood boards, research, package design and retailing concepts—to judges including the NIO global design VP from NIO Global Design Team and NIO Life creative team, work with the faculty and expert panel to select student designs that best reflect the Blue Sky Thinking and sustainability goals.

Selected designs will be promoted throughout the NIO Life product ecosystem and eligible for crowdsourced production funding by NIO Life. The effort will transform the concepts of Parsons’ talented young designers into commercial products whose revenue will be shared with students.

To amplify NIO Life’s mission to cultivate the best thinking in international sustainable design, NIO Life will continue to establish incubators for student designers at other acclaimed global design institutions.