Piaggio Partners With Parsons School of Design to Re-Imagine an Italian Classic

Piaggio Partners With Parsons School of Design to Re-Imagine an Italian Classic

Piaggio is partnering with Parsons School of Design to re-imagine this incomparable icon of Italian style within the context of 21st century American culture. Restricted only by the limits of their imaginations, Parsons students in the Fashion Design, Product Design, and Design and Technology programs will create new concepts for a lifestyle collection, ranging from clothing to wearable technologies, accessories, and even new features for the scooter itself. The designs will be unveiled at the Parsons Benefit and Fashion Show on May 9, 2005.

"It was important for us to select a partner that we felt could come up with creative solutions using the Vespa to address important issues such as the emerging traffic problems in the U.S.," said Paolo Timoni, CEO of Piaggio USA, Inc. "As scooters become an integral part of the American and global cultural landscape, we feel that Parsons is the right design school to look at how young people will adopt scooter culture and how the scooter will change the way people think of transportation. We're combining the heritage of design and manufacturing of Italy with the progressive ideas fostered by this quintessential New York design school."

The partnership between Parsons and Piaggio is a project of the Parsons Design Lab, which brings together corporations, nonprofit organizations, and Parsons students to develop design solutions for real-world business challenges. Students were charged with developing new fashions, accessories, and product ideas and concepts to integrate Vespa into the values and lifestyles of the U.S. teenage and 20-to-30-year-old markets, and to broaden and "futurize" the Vespa in the context of modern urban living, the economy, and eco-sustainability in light of increasing traffic congestion.

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"The Design Lab is an innovative way for corporate and nonprofit leaders to tap into Parsons' creative energies across a range of disciplines," said Carol Moore, director of the Parsons Design Lab. "In turn, students are provided with the rare opportunity to develop design solutions that can be applied in the real world. The idea of transforming a design icon such as the Vespa for today's youth culture was a challenge that students were excited to tackle."

Established in August 2003, the Design Lab has coordinated interdisciplinary projects with corporations and nonprofit organizations that span the range of design disciplines taught at Parsons, including architectural design, communications design, design and technology, fashion design, and product design. In addition to Piaggio, current and recent partners include Siemens, Fossil, PETA, Daimler Chrysler, NASA, Origins, Microsoft, UNICEF, and Samsung.

"Parsons has a longstanding reputation as a design school that produces real, tangible solutions to societal issues," said Paul Goldberger, the new dean of Parsons School of Design and one of the nation's most eminent critics and writers on architecture and design. "The Design Lab is a perfect example of our increased commitment to engaging students and outside partners to create new paradigms in the field of design."

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