Rob Curedale, Curedale, Inc., Spark 2010 Juror
Who are you, professionally speaking?
I was born in Australia and worked as a designer, design director and design educator in London, Sydney, Vevey, Switzerland, Portugal, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, China and Detroit.
I have designed furniture, medical, technology and consumer products in global markets including Europe, Australia, Asia and North America. Over my career I have designed hundreds of products as a consultant and in-house design manager at corporate offices and consultancies. Clients include HP, Philips, GEC, Nokia, Sun, Apple, Canon, Motorola, Nissan, Audi VW, Disney, RTKL, Government of the United Arab Emirates, British and Australian military, Steelcase, Hon, Castelli, Hamilton Medical, Zyliss, Belkin, Gensler, Haworth, Honeywell, NEC, Hoover, Packard Bell, Dell, Black & Decker, Coleman and Harmon Kardon.
Throughout my career I have taught part time. I have lectured widely throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Australia including at Yale, Pepperdine MBA Innovation Program, Art Center Pasadena, Cranbrook, Pratt, Art Center Europe; a faculty member at SCA and UTS Sydney; as Chair of Product Design and Chair of Furniture Design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, then the largest product design school in North America, Art Institute California, Hollywood Campus, Cal State San Jose, Escola De Artes e Design in Oporto Portugal, Instituto De Artes Visuals, Design e Marketing, Lisbon, Southern Yangtze University, Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and Nanjing Arts Institute in China. This year I am teaching at Otis College in Los Angeles, Pepperdine University, Art Center Pasadena, and Art Institute of California in Hollywood. I have invitations to teach later in the year at new design schools in the United Arab Emirates and India.
How did you choose your design discipline?
I became interested in Industrial Design while studying architecture in Australia. I went on to complete two degrees in Industrial Design.
What are some elements that make your designs distinctive?
I have an international perspective through an extremely diverse global career visiting over 1,000 cities in more than 40 countries. I have an interest and empathy for the people using my product designs. I founded and manage the largest network of professional designers in the world from disciplines including industrial design, architecture, fashion design interior design, packaging design, exhibit design and retail design now comprising about than 40,000 design professionals. Contact with many of these professionals enriches and informs my design. I am interested in cross-cultural design.
Is your work international, or regionally focused?
Very much International.
What is your ideal project or commission?
Projects that need problems to be solved with distinctive, unique and new solutions. I like medical products because they can be critical for patient’s quality of life. I like products that involve thinking about social interaction such as office and urban furniture. I like to find simple solutions to complex problems and needs.
Have you worked in sustainable materials?
Yes. I try to optimize the environmental performance of every product, system and user experience that I work on.
Who are your top 3 favorite designers?
Three that I admire are Sam Hecht, Herzog & de Meuron and Jaime Haydon, there are many others.
What are you currently reading?
When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques.
What advise can you offer to a new graduate?
Follow your curiosity, go beyond what is expected, be courageous, find your own voice, travel.
How did you get your first paying design job?
I won a national design award in Australia, which included a financial prize and a job in the company’s design department. The first product that I worked on there, the Sebel Integra Chair is still in production and has been manufactured in Germany, US, South Africa and Australia. It was the first one-piece polypropylene chair manufactured in the world and now has hundreds of imitators. I believe that it has sold more units than the population of Australia when I worked on it. I have seen it in use in Europe, Israel, the US and Australia.
What do you do for inspiration?
I am interested in China, archaeology history, anthropology, ethnography and different types of human culture. I have worked on excavations in Middle East and traveled off the beaten path in remote regions in areas including Nepal, Tibet, Sumatra, Sulawesi, China, Solomon Islands, and Carribean. I like to walk in inspirational natural places and dive in pristine natural environments. My studio is adjacent to a state park in California.