The MFA in Interior Design program is part of the School of Constructed Environments' (SCE) family of programs including Architecture, Lighting Design, and Product Design. This academic home supports the interdisciplinary, critical inquiry that characterizes Parsons' pedagogy. All students share research and fabrication facilities and work side by side in an open design studio with wireless digital capability. Graduate and undergraduate students collaborate on projects, meshing historically separate design disciplines to build a collegial learning community and cross-disciplinary innovation.
New York City is an internationally acclaimed resource for scholarly and applied research in the interior design industry and the urban context. Students benefit from Parsons' longstanding connections to the spectrum of industry partners: interior design and architecture firms, media, manufacturers, and academic and institutional exhibitors. Rich sourcing options exist in the city's large trade showrooms such as the Decoration & Design Building the New York Design Center and the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center as well as the endless small galleries, studios, showrooms and auction houses which populate the streets of New York City. Annual gatherings such as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair provide students with opportunities to network with those who are shaping the industry and framing important debates.
New York's museums and collections, archives, and famously designed spaces offer contextualized resources for critical study and inspiration. The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, which houses a comprehensive collection of decorative arts, furniture, wallcoverings, and textiles, is Parsons' institutional partner for the MA in History of Decorative Arts and Design program. The museum hosts industry-related symposia and workshops and is a key resource for MFA ID students. Students are exposed to history first hand at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and Neue Galerie, which house unparalleled collections of decorative arts and period rooms. Within walking distance from the SCE design studio, students have access to showrooms and galleries showcasing contemporary local and international innovations.
Material ConneXion, an industry consultancy for materials research, supports the program's culture of innovation commitment to environmental sustainability and compliments Parsons' own collection in the Angelo Donghia Materials Center.
The faculty of the MFA ID program, all recognized leaders in their fields, is establishing a research culture to fortify the role that interior design plays in addressing the pressing questions of today. AfterTaste, the program's annual international symposium exploring the conceptual boundaries of the interior design discipline, is a scholarly forum for this critical debate. AfterTaste brings together distinguished scholars and practitioners such as Petra Blaisse, Beatriz Colomina, James Casebere, and Mayer Rus to create a dialogue about the critical issues shaping the field of Interior Design. Past symposia have concentrated on themes including: educational models for interior design instruction, the representation of interiors, and the role of sensual perception in imagining interiors.
Discussion and debate is continued in print by faculty, students, and outside scholars in Scapes, SCE's multidisciplinary publication.