Our First Century
Parsons School of Design has maintained a presence in Paris since 1921, when Frank Alvah Parsons first established the Paris Ateliers of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art.
In its earliest year, the school offered courses in the decorative arts, architecture, scenography, and costume design and counted Elsie de Wolfe and Edith Wharton among its patrons.
In 1930, Jean-Michel Frank’s students at the school created the Parsons Table, an icon of modern design popular to this day. In response to the coming war, the school closed in Paris in 1939 but was reopened in 1948 and has welcomed international students
in Paris ever since. And in 1970, Parsons merged with The New School, a university founded in 1919 by a group of eminent scholars dedicated to the social sciences, humanities, and arts and mindful of the global context.
In 2013, the university re-established an academic center, Parsons Paris, to offer students a learning center in which to prepare for creative paths that increasingly interlace the world. Tim Marshall, then the university’s provost, described the initiative
in these terms: "We set about to ‘design a design school' that could operate more deftly and strongly in the New School context, and — more broadly — that would have the agility to respond to, anticipate, and lead dynamic changes in the art and design
professions and in the academy." By design, the educational programming places students and faculty within a dense network of colleagues that effectively responds to dramatic global shifts in demographics, economics, and culture.
Over the years, Parsons Paris has evolved to offer an array of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs spanning art and digital design, fashion design and fashion studies, and strategic design and management. Likewise, the campus has grown to include
new making spaces and classrooms in Paris-Romainville, a contemporary art and cultural hub in Greater Paris.