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. 

Parsons School of Design is the #1 art and design school in the United States and is regularly listed among the top three art and design schools worldwide. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education and our approach is characterized by a passionate commitment to improving all aspects of society through inquiry, iterative experimentation, and creative exploration. For more information, please visit

Located in the heart of New York City, The New School is a world-class university with a long history of global engagement, an exceptionally diverse and international university community, leading edge faculty, and renowned alumni. The New School houses five colleges, including Parsons School of Design, along with Parsons Paris. 

Since our founding in 1919, The New School has redrawn and redefined the boundaries of intellectual and creative thought as a preeminent academic center, built on the principles of challenging convention and creating positive change. The New School is committed to developing students who will have an impact on the world and solve the most pressing social problems of our time.

About NIO Inc.
NIO Inc. is a pioneer and leading manufacturer of premium smart electric vehicles. Founded in November 2014, NIO’s mission is to shape a joyful lifestyle. NIO aims to build a community starting with smart electric vehicles to share joy and grow together with users. NIO designs, develops, manufactures and sells premium smart electric vehicles, driving innovations in autonomous driving, digital technologies, electric powertrains and batteries. NIO differentiates itself through its continuous technological breakthroughs and innovations, such as its industry-leading battery swapping technologies, Battery as a Service, or BaaS, as well as its proprietary autonomous driving technologies and Autonomous Driving as a Service, or ADaaS. NIO launched the ES8, a 7-seater flagship premium smart electric SUV in December 2017, and began deliveries of the ES8 in June 2018 and its variant, the 6-seater ES8, in March 2019. NIO launched the ES6, a 5-seater high-performance premium smart electric SUV, in December 2018, and began deliveries of the ES6 in June 2019. NIO launched the EC6, a 5-seater premium smart electric coupe SUV, in December 2019, and began deliveries of the EC6 in September 2020. NIO launched the ET7, a flagship smart electric sedan, in January 2021.

About NIO Life
NIO Life is NIO's original design lifestyle brand, integrating global design resources and collaborating with independent designers and top design schools in the UK, Italy, Scandinavia, and Asia to create a delightful lifestyle with boutique products that represent positive attitudes, good stories, and quality designs.


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Will Wilbur,
The New School

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