Lara Penin_Portrait.jpg

I’m an Associate Professor of Transdisciplinary Design and a co-founder of Parsons DESIS Lab at Parsons School of Design, The New School, where I also serve as Director of the Transdisciplinary Design Graduate Program, an experimental and innovative masters program attracting some of the brightest minds I know of. I am the author of An Introduction to Service Design, Designing the Invisible (Bloomsbury, 2018).

At Parsons DESIS Lab, a multidisciplinary research lab at the intersection of service design, social innovation and sustainable practices, I have led and contributed to projects, exhibitions and events on how to amplify bottom up sustainable change, how to improve financial literacy of New Yorkers, the role of air pollution sensing for environmental justice or how can we reimagine the social role of libraries supporting families affected by incarceration. The essence of my work is and has been about how (service) design can effect positive social change towards a sustainable and just world. I am also an enthusiastic design educator, and part of my scholarship has focused on bridging the gap between the innovation of design pedagogy and practice, through a transdisciplinary design lenses.

I teach mostly studio courses involving service design for public interest, systems thinking and participatory methods and I also advise master degree theses. My happiest moments are when I’m involved in conversations and co-creating with communities and working with my students. Even better if they happen at the same time.

I am a proud grantee of the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the São Paulo Architecture Biennale. I have two alma maters, one at Milan Polytechnic University where I got my PhD in Industrial Design and another at the University of São Paulo where I got a BA in Architecture and Urbanism.

I am a native of São Paulo and have lived in Milan and Rotterdam. I am a Brooklynite since 2008. I practice dance and am learning to play ukulele. Would like to draw more.