Areaware x Parsons

Design-based gift company Areaware has always put the artist first. It expresses this commitment not only through its marketing messages and packaging but also by giving back to the artist community. A special focus of these efforts is on engaging with and supporting the next generation of talent. It is in this spirit that Areaware is proud to announce that for the second year in a row, the Brooklyn based manufacturer has partnered with a renowned design university to give its students a real world track to the product design process and a view of the steps involved in guiding a design from concept to reality.

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Following the success of RIT’s metaproject03 course offered in the spring of 2013, Areaware has partnered with “Small Things Matter” (SMT) a third-year Product Design course offered within the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons the New School for Design. “At Areaware, we are committed to finding the world’s best design talent with the right opportunities,” notes Areaware founder, Noel Wiggins. “Students have a fresh sense of design and are an essential part of the process.” In the course, “Small Things Matter: A partnership between Parsons Product Design and Areaware,” Parsons design students were challenged to create an inexpensive, point of purchase, “impulse” gift item to fit under the brand’s current label. As a secondary goal, students were tasked with leveraging the power of impulse consumerism to affect positive change elsewhere in the world by conceptually linking their design to a group of charity organizations set to receive a portion of profits from the items sale.

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Throughout the spring semester, Areaware representatives visited the class several times to help guide students through the real-world constraints involved in the production of an under $30 retail price item. By the end of the semester, students will have designed and produced a high quality, finished and functional prototype suitable for manufacturer review.
A juried panel of industry experts, including Jonas Damon, Creative Director of Frog Design, Rama Chorpash, Director of Product Design at Parsons the New School for Design, Jean Lin, Design Writer and co-founder of ReClaim NYC, Jen Krichels, Design Writer and co-founder of ReClaim NYC, Noel Wiggins, President of Areaware, and Daniel Michalik, Owner of Daniel Michalik Furniture Design and Assistant Professor of Product Design at Parsons, will select the top 3 items for potential production under the Areaware label. The items will be debuted to the public at WantedDesign.

Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16th at the opening reception of the exhibition as part of Parsons Festival 2014.

About Areaware Areaware is a Williamsburg, Brooklyn based producer of everyday objects that are functional and unusual. Our goal is to create thoughtful products that inspire an emotional response. We like to think we have a good sense of humor and that our objects are poetic. We wish to create a forum for young and local talent and together become a strong voice for American design. We believe that appreciation for beauty is central to what it means to be alive and want to embody this principle in even the simplest things.

About Parsons

Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. 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. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit