Parsons Paris

  • Parsons has maintained a presence in Paris since 1921, when Frank Alvah Parsons first established the Paris Ateliers of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. The school offered courses in the decorative arts, architecture, scenography, and costume design and counted Elsie de Wolfe and Edith Wharton among its patrons. In 1930, Jean-Michel Frank’s students at the school created the Parsons Table, an icon of modern design. The Paris school closed in Paris in 1939 but was reopened in 1948 and has welcomed international students in Paris since then. In 1970, Parsons merged with The New School, a university founded in 1919 by a group of eminent scholars dedicated to the social sciences and the performing arts.

    Parsons Paris' new academic center, established in 2013 at 45 rue Saint Roch, reflects the pedagogical mission of The New School. Provost Tim Marshall said, "We set about to ‘design a design school' that could operate more deftly and strongly in the New School context, and—more broadly—that would have the agility to respond to, anticipate, and lead dynamic changes in the art and design professions and in the academy." This new educational programming places students and faculty within a dense network of colleagues that effectively responds to dramatic global shifts in demographics, economics, and culture.

    Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons New York, describes the school's forward-looking pedagogy with these words: "Parsons' embrace of curricular innovation, pioneering technology, and a global perspective has once again put the school at the leading edge of art and design education: exploring new methodologies in existing disciplines, broadening the scope of those disciplines, and forging paths in new fields of services and transdisciplinary thinking." Parsons Paris offers students an opportunity to explore design culture in the City of Light.