Parsons School of Design, SCE: The Glass Corner
March 30 & 31, 2007

One century ago Frank Alvah Parsons founded the first Interior Design program in the United States at Parsons School of Design in New York. For over ten decades, and in response to myriad cultural and professional forces, the study of the interior has developed into a hybrid of environmental psychology, fashion design, product design, architecture, material science, and cultivated taste. Now, at a time of unusually rapid technological and cultural evolution, it is time for a critical assessment of the field.

Interior Design is a hybrid of environmental psychology, fashion design, product design, architecture, material science and cultivated taste. Now, at a time of rapid technological and cultural evolution, it is time for a critical assessment of the field.


Petra Blaisse – Keynote

The Dweller’s Trace – Theorizing the study of the interior
Beatriz Colomina
Roundtable  1 – moderator: Susan Yelavich

More Room – Alternative sites, users, and technologies
Constance Adams
Roundtable 2 – moderator: Susan Szenasy

Class Room – Pedagogical models reconsidered
Julieanna Preston
Roundtable 3 – moderator: Lois Weinthal

Outside In – Progressive practices at the edge of the field
Andrew Blauvelt
Roundtable 4 – moderator: Donald Albrecht


graphic design by Lisa Maione


[biographies current to 2007]


Petra Blaisse is an interior designer whose work is known for challenging conventional distinctions of space by fluidly connecting inside and outside environments and blurring the relationship between interior, architecture and landscape. In 1991, Blaisse founded the Amsterdam-based design office Inside Outside . She is internationally acclaimed for her designs of theatre curtains, acoustic walls and cast floors, including the embossed liquid-gold drapes for the Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague, the curtain-as-walls for the Mick Jagger Centre near London, and the space-defining pleated walls for the VIP department in New York’s Prada Store. Blaisse has worked with Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA on the new glass pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art; with Rem Koolhaas/OMA on the Seattle Main Public Library, the Casa de Musica in Portugal, the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, and the ITT in Chicago, with Bruce Mau on the Downsview Park in Toronto; and with Michael Maltzan on the courtyard for the UCLA Hammer Museum.


Constance Adams
is an architect who works in the space program for clients such as Lockheed Martin Space Operations and NASA. She studied sociology at Harvard University and completed her professional studies in architecture at Yale University. After a two-year apprenticeship with Kenzo Tange Associates in Tokyo, followed by four years working in Berlin on commercial and master planning projects, she was employed by the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Among other projects, Adams was involved in developing the design of an inflatable module for the International Space Station. The module, known as TransHab (“Transit Habitat”), was designed to provide living quarters for astronauts aboard the space station, including a common room, gymnasium, shower, and other amenities.


Donald Albrecht, an independent curator and adjunct curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of the City of New York, has organized exhibitions for the Cooper-Hewitt, the National Building Museum, the Getty Center, the Library of Congress and the Vitra Design Museum. Most recently he curated the exhibition Eero Saarinen: Realizing American Utopia for Yale University and the Museum of Finnish Architecture, and The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design for the National Building Museum. His publications include Glass + Glamour: Steuben’s Modern Moment , 1930-1960 , Russell Wright: Creating American Lifestyle , and Designing Dreams: Modern Architecture in the Movies . He was a 2003 Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.



Andrew Blauvelt is the Design Director and Curator for the Walker Art Center. Blauvelt was recently selected as one of the “100 most significant” graphic designers in Area , a curated international survey of contemporary graphic designers. Under his leadership at the Walker Art Center, the design studio was nominated for the prestigious Chrysler Award for Design Innovation and a National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York. Blauvelt has organized the exhibitions Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses , Ideas for Modern Living , and Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life . Prior to the Walker, he was Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the School of Design, North Carolina State University, where he helped develop its top-ranked graduate program and later served as department head. He also served as interim chair of the design department at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.


Beatriz Colomina is an internationally renowned architectural historian and theorist who has written extensively on questions of architecture and media. Her books include Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media ; Sexuality and Space ; Architectureproduction ; Double Exposure: Architecture through Art; and Domesticity at War . She has been on the editorial board of Assemblage , Daidalos , and Grey Room, and has received a Graham Foundation grant for her current research project “X-Ray Architecture: Illness as Metaphor.” Since 1988, Colomina has taught at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, where she is Director of Doctoral Studies and Founding Director of the Program in Media and Modernity.


Jamie Drake is the founder of Drake Design Associates, a New York-based design firm that is responsible for some of the country’s most dynamic, distinctive and livable interiors. He has designed residences for clients including Madonna and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and oversaw the restoration and renovation of Gracie Mansion. His work has been featured in Architectural Digest , Elle Décor , House Beautiful , The New York Times , House & Garden , and he was cited by Vanity Fair as “a standout among the rising stars of interior designers.” He was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2003.


Kitty Hawks is principal of the New York interior design firm Kitty Hawks Incorporated. Her clients include Tom Brokow, Agnes Gund, Michael Ovitz, and Diane Sawyer, and her work has been published in House and Garden , Interior Design , House Beautiful , and Architectural Digest . She was the creative director for Perry Ellis, and is a Board member of the Design Trust for Public Space and the Municipal Art Society of New York. She has worked on issues ranging from sustainability to the redesign of the taxi cab and the redevelopment of New York’s West Side rail yards. In recognition of her practice, Hawks was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2005.


Kent Kleinman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting at Parsons School of Design. His scholarly focus is 20 th -century European Modernism, and his books include Villa Müller: A Work of Adolf Loos, Rudolf Arnheim: Revealing Vision, The Krefeld Villas: Mies’s Haus Lange and Esters , and a forthcoming translation of Turnovsky’s Die Poetik eines Mauervorsprungs. His articles and reviews have appeared in Bauwelt, Progressive Architecture, Domes, A+U, Bauart, Archis and the Architect’s Journal . He was awarded a Mellon Foundation’s Senior Public Goods Fellowship and was a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal. He has received three Graham Foundation Grants, the national Bruner Prize; two Architect’s Journal 10 Best Books awards; a New York Council for the Arts grant, and a 2001 Progressive Architecture Design Award.


David Ling is principal and founder of the New York-based firm David Ling Architects, an international practice in the U.S., Europe and Asia . Prior to opening his own practice in 1992, Ling worked for Emilio Ambasz & Associates, Richard Meier and Partners, and I.M. Pei and Partners. Ling’s work has received numerous international awards such as theInteriors Magazine’s Annual Awards for Best Retail Design (2001) and Best Office Design (1995), London’s Design Partnership Award for Best Retail Design (2000), ICFF’s Best Exhibition Design (2001), and London’s Grosvenor House Award for Best Exhibition Design (1991). His work has been widely published including The New York Times , Wallpaper ,Interior Design , Interiors , House and Garden , Elle Décor , Metropolitan Home , Dwell , VM+SD , Interni , Architektur und Wohnen , Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , Vogue ,Elle , Harper’s Bazaar , and Burlington Magazine .


Julieanna Preston is a Senior Lecturer of Interior Design at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, and co-editor of Intimus : Interior Design Theory Reader , arguably the only anthology of interior design theory. Preston’s teaching and research interests lie in developing interior design as both a spatial art and an intellectual endeavor, and her work typically engages craft as a mode of thinking through theoretical issues and positions, often embedding the learning process in design proposals.


Susan S. Szenasy the chief editor of Metropolis , the New York City-based magazine of architecture, culture, and design. During her 20 years as Editor-in-Chief, the magazine has gained international recognition and has won numerous awards. Szenasy is the author of several books on design, including The Home and Light . She is a frequent lecturer and panel moderator on broad-ranging design topics including, most recently, the internationally web-cast 2010 Imperative conference on sustainable design. Szenasy facilitates Metropolis’sConferences series including Wonderbrands, Wonderbrands West, Net@Work,Business UnUsual, Teaching Green and Design Entrepreneurs. She is the co-founder of R.Dot (Rebuild Downtown Our Town), a coalition of New Yorkers who came together after the 9/11 tragedies to contribute their expertise to building the 21 st -century metropolis at the site of the former World Trade Center.


Lois Weinthal is Director of the Interior Design program at Parsons School of Design. Previously, Weinthal was an Associate Professor and co-developer of the Architectural Interior Design Program at the University of Texas at Austin. She is particularly interested in the relationships between architecture, interiors, and objects, which includes the design of furniture and clothing. She has received grants from the Graham Foundation, a Fulbright Award, and a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Award. She has lectured, published, and exhibited widely in the field, and is principal of the design practice Weinthal Works.


Susan Yelavich is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Design Studies at Parsons School of Design, and a noted design and architectural critic and historian. She is the author of the book Contemporary World Interiors (Phaidon Press, 2006), editor of Profile: Pentagram Design (Phaidon Press, 2004), co-author of Inside Design Now (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003), author of Design for Life (Norton, 1997) and editor of The Edge of the Millennium: An International Critique of Architecture, Urban Planning, Product and Communication Design (Whitney Library of Design, 1993). Yelavich co-curated the 2003 National Design Triennial, and was awarded the Rolland Rome Prize Fellowship in Design from the American Academy in Rome in 2003.


AFTER TASTE 1 was organized by Kent Kleinman and Lois Weinthal of the Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting at Parsons School of Design and made possible with the support of the Office of the Dean, Parsons School of Design.

Additional thanks goes to: Victoria Hagan and Jamie Drake.

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