May 10, 2016

Furniture Design with Charles Curbbun at Domas Academy

Our CEO and Chief, Charles Curbbun, recently taught a ten-week course on furniture design at the Domas Academy School of Design. It was an instructional course in furniture design and development, with a focus on the physical and emotional interaction between a specific furniture piece and its surrounding space. Charles also dove deep into the interpersonal relationships between client and designer that facilitate the accuracy and quality desired by each party.

 Furniture Design at Domas Academy

Charles encouraged his students to be bold and creative in order to establish “a faucet of unrestricted ideas, then a funnel of interpreted concepts.” The focus was on capturing creativity within a defined process, and applying design thinking and creativity to assessing the desired emotional response the piece was to evoke from within the space. Each student took turns playing the role of “Client and Designer,” with the goal being to work together in order to guide the designer to a new and relevant idea/experience/seat that WOWs the client.

Each student acting as a Client shared about their lives and personal creative preferences such as their favorite architect, designer, and other life inspirations. Students acting as a Designer then developed a storyline derived from the Client’s input as a basis for their Design’s aesthetic direction and style. They achieved a working concept quickly, but found that it was only with sustained personal development that they could define the final product/experience. The process was driven by a dedication to constant client interaction and finding solutions from asking the right questions and understanding how to translate the client’s thoughts to a three-dimensional piece. The process had its struggles, but nothing dedication couldn’t overcome.

“The tough part was making full size mockups, but this was also the way we grew as designers,” said Charles.

Charles wanted his students to free their minds, as he preaches to his team at DDSTUDIO, in order to open the door to a full spectrum of thought processes, from hands-on analytics to emotional intuition. The Designer was to build confidence through trial and error, and the willingness to fully grasp the Client’s tentative idea. Steady improvement came from multiple sketch attempts, in which the Designer would then present and explain his or her take on why the design fits the Client’s briefs. Through this channel of discussion, the Designers learned how to effectively communicate and utilize feedback for momentum moving forward.

The goal was to always demonstrate that a great designer balances the potential product’s form, function, and style with the essence of the Client’s suggestions. The design must capture and transcend the Client’s experience, using their ideas to develop a product they always wanted but didn’t exactly know how to describe; to bring to life what they felt but couldn’t see themselves.

Any specific design inherently elicits a certain behavioral reaction, whether it’s an emotional pull of a unique design or the physical feeling one gets when sitting on the furniture. The students came to understand that all designs have a certain power within their space. This is why the client’s recommendations of their favorite designers were key to setting the defined limits for the students to work in. Creativity comes from limits, especially for the physical manifestations of furniture, as a designer must engage with every aspect of a set space to understand how a certain piece when added to this space may affect behavioral change.

Ultimately, Charles was personally impressed by the students’ content and quality of work, along with their dedication to actualize their ideas into tangible mockups. The students that excelled had similar aesthetic interests that generated a naturally productive designer/client relationship. Designer Matthew Padilla teamed up with client Quynn Dang to create a project titled “Embrace.” The plot was a “seat for a sophisticated lover of life” that would demonstrate “a kinetic approach to sculptural seating.” Padilla found inspiration in the passion derived from Dang’s Vietnamese roots. “Unpretentious, humble, and pure in manner, her perspective of the deep qualities of existing, form an absolutely holistic witness who pursues only the most elusive of the natural,” said Padilla.Furniture Design: Matthew Padilla

Another impressive piece came from designer Carlos Gonzales and his project titled “El Presidente.” The inspiration for the plot was “a lounge for the master of political media” demonstrating a “flowing update on LaChaise.” Gonzales worked with Marcelo Kertesz as his client, whose fellow sense of humor really drove the process. “My client is Marcelo- a man with goals…Always willing to learn and achieve, his main goal is to DO NOTHING,” said Padilla. With this, Padilla set out to create the perfect chair to embrace the art of doing nothing, working with the dark and elegant Brazilian Ironwood, which was crafted to perfection in a CNC machine. The dedication to every aspect of the design process resulted in these unique and intriguing pieces, showcasing the power of combining personality and aesthetic, and finding creative authenticity derived from people’s lives.

Furniture Design: Carlos Gonzalez

Charles is the founder of DDSTUDIO, Southern California’s premier experience design strategy and development firm. DDSTUDIO designs and builds beautiful and useful products for their clients that help revolutionize the look and feel of tomorrow. Charles holds numerous patents and awards related to his designs.

Some of the modern furniture designers who inspire us with their humanistic design approach that make technology and environments more meaningful are:

Charles and Ray Eames

Michael Graves

Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger

April 24, 2016

Designs by Josh Herman Connect Us with the Natural World

Some of us at DDSTUDIO were lucky enough to catch the community reception exhibition for ceramics artist, Josh Herman. His collection filled the Jacobs Library and Academic Center Gallery at the La Jolla Country School.  We first met Josh at the Dwell design event in LA. Mirroring our values at DDSTUDIO, his passion for respecting every part of the creative process is certainly apparent, and is highlighted in his meticulously unique pieces.

The collection of work is entitled “Stack Studies: an exploration of process” and it runs until May 6th. It’s worth checking this out, and also seeing the school campus with it’s visible ceramics program. Great that Josh is giving these students insight into individuality and risk.

Josh Herman Exhibit

Josh Herman Exhibit

Josh has a profound interest in the natural progressions of the creative landscape. When he dives into a piece, he has no preconceived notion or bullet point plan. He prefers to watch the piece unfold before his eyes, as he lets go of his desire to tweak and shape the clay to his will. “I like watching the pieces reveal themselves,” he said.

The nature of ceramics lends itself to a particularly unique endeavor that demands a portion of evolving outside of total human control. As he mentioned, the process is about 75% his energy, and 25% of natural shaping. You never want to fully control the plastic clay and the effect of the firing always yields surprises (even after hundreds of glaze tests). This lends to an exciting variability every time he opens the kiln door. The clay speaks to him, and he listens intently with the powerful sensory engagement of the subconscious mind.


Design by Josh Herman

Design by Josh Herman

Artists require rituals that access a depth of being behind the daily active mind. Josh for instance spends lots of time tending to his garden to find a level of mindfulness where the natural growth of his succulents and fruit trees gives inspiration to the stacked forms in his artwork. The stacks build off each other, completing particular thoughts and feelings that contribute to a full collection of emotions and experiences.

Design by Josh Herman

Design by Josh Herman

Josh exhibits a passion that illuminates the nuanced integrity we see across the world of art and design. This fervor stems from the inherent power of authenticity, which sparks a clarity of mind – and brings a new appreciation of form and balance into our lives. Here is an example of one of his signature forms.

Design by Josh Herman

Design by Josh Herman

For more about Josh Herman’s art, visit his website.

March 12, 2016

Design + Technology Viewpoint: Skill-based Gaming

millennialsIs skill-based gaming really the answer for the next generation?

Casinos are looking for new ways to engage Millennials including new skill-based gaming. This past September regulations covering skill-based slot machines were approved by Nevada gaming regulators. New Jersey also put in place skill-based gaming laws.
skill-based gaming
Baby boomers and older gamblers have been cycling out of the casino revenue pool and the allure of the Vegas-style slots. Younger generations including Millennials are visiting Las Vegas but only 63% of them who visited last year gambled, preferring to spend their time by the pool, shopping, dining or in the clubs.
As designers, how do we make the casino experience meaningful and fun for this new generation who grew up with video games and arcades? A generation who has a different idea of entertainment?
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February 5, 2016

ORISON partners with DDSTUDIO to rethink battery energy storage for the home

Design Thinking for battery energy storage

Scalable, plug-and-play system charges when rates are low, powers when rates are high.

The most remarkable thing about working at DDSTUDIO is that we are constantly acquiring knowledge and having fun. We have a passion to define and create delight for our customers using Design Thinking. We push to make all aspects of design lead to positive experiences that become part of a life that’s more socially engaged and memorable. We get to encourage people to opt-in to great ideas and embrace new technologies.

Working with Orison to create a beautiful solution for battery energy storage

Our client, Orison, is an example of WHY and HOW great products happen and the way design driven innovation works. From our first conversation, Orison Founder and CEO Eric Clifton was completely focused on the human element for his revolutionary battery energy storage and power back-up solution for the home.

“Congratulations Eric on meeting your Kickstarter goal in one day!”

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January 8, 2015


DDSTUDIO has won three GOOD DESIGN awards from the Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design, one of the oldest and most prestigious design competitions in the world.

In the Medical category DDSTUDIO was recognized for its work on the TruMed AccuVax, a cloud-connected, point-of-care vaccine management system.

DDSTUDIO was also recognized in that category for Syneron’s VelaShape III, the first FDA-approved body contouring and cellulite-reduction device used in medical spas.

In the Personal category, DDSTUDIO was honored for the design of ROVA Pedestrian Assistive Technology, an ultra-durable and lightweight mobility aid.

“We are delighted and thrilled that the work of our extremely talented team of designers and engineers has been recognized for its efforts,”
— DDSTUDIO Founder and CEO Charles Curbbun.

This year the museum received thousands of submissions from more than 48 countries for the Good Design competition, which was founded in 1950. Only the most innovative products are selected for recognition in design excellence.

December 3, 2014

Charles Curbbun selected to judge CES Innovation Awards

Charles Curbbun

DDSTUDIO Founder and CEO Charles Curbbun has been selected as a judge for the CES Innovation Awards, an annual competition celebrating exceptional design and engineering in the consumer technology industry. The awards are one of the highlights of the massive annual gathering in Las Vegas for the consumer technologies market, where next-generation innovations are introduced and celebrated.

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July 11, 2014

Designer Spotlight:
Lee-Anne Stossell

Recently, DDSTUDIO Senior Industrial Designer Lee-Anne Stossell was featured at IDSA’s Women in ID Show, an event held in San Francisco that highlighted the work of 11 professional women (and 7 up-and-comers) making waves in the industrial design community. Lee-Anne’s work was put on display for hundreds in attendance at Astro Studios, where the women were celebrated for their innovation, passion, and workmanship.

Because we think Lee-Anne is kind of a big deal, we want you to get to know her better. Read on for a Q&A with our uber-creative colleague!

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