Academy of Art University Partners with new TV series “California by Design: Innovations”

School of Industrial Design to showcase a new design process with VR tools on new TV series “California by Design: Innovations”, premiering on June 27 on CBS in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Academy of Art University is excited to announce the partnership with a new TV series “California by Design: Innovations”, which premieres on Saturday, June 27 at 3:00 pm (PDT) on KCBS-LA CBS 2 in Los Angeles and at 7:00 pm (PDT) on KPIX-SAN CBS 5 in San Francisco/ Bay Area. Throughout the 6 episodes in the series, the show features 33 game-changing innovations by people and companies with ties to California.

School of Industrial Design at Academy of Art University will be featured for its new design process with virtual reality tools. Tom Matano, Executive Director for School of Industrial Design, joins as a member of the judging panel who chooses the top innovations from each episode to go through to the final episode, counting down to the top innovation of the year.

Also, Industrial Design student E’lan Hawkins will be a guest student presenter for a home lighting innovation by Butlr and a new innovative guitar stand designed by RKS. “It was a real pleasure working with a young creative and passionate designer of the future.” Mike Chapman, Executive Producer of the show commented.

Aura in the Spotlight

In episode 3, which will be broadcasted on July 11, one of the student projects “AURA” led by Industrial Design student Santiago Bastidas will be featured as an example of how students adopt virtual reality to design products. The school is incorporating virtual reality in its design process as the industry expands its use, which demonstrates how the curriculum and facilities in the school reflect the trends and requirements in the real-world.

Santiago Bastidas and his team’s project,  “AURA”

Antonio Borja, Director for School of Industrial Design explains “Incorporating virtual reality technology in the design process enables designers to execute evaluations in a shorter timeframe and find potential flaws or issues with their designs earlier in the process. This helps streamline entire projects and allows more time for making any necessary adjustments before completion, resulting in higher quality designs overall.” Industrial design students use Gravity Sketch for Virtual Reality Sketching and Autodesk VRED Pro for Virtual Visualization.

“AURA” is an automobile design project that he and his team members created for PSA Peugeot Citroën group as part of the corporate-sponsored class. He used Gravity Sketch to create a new automobile that extends users’ experience beyond a physical journey: an emotional and personal experience. Santiago commented “With AURA we wanted to create not only this spatial journey but to target a much deeper journey. We broaden the interactions for a much more humanistic final journey”.

Academy of Art University has been on the virtual reality front lines since 2016, when the Schools of Communications & Media Technologies and Motion Pictures & Television hosted their first-ever VR Summit. 

From Spring 2017 to Spring 2018,  Academy of Art University students from various departments including School of Game Development, Schools of Animation & Visual Effects, School of Illustration, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, and Interaction & UI/UX Design collaborated to create an Oculus virtual reality experience for the Norman Rockwell Museum touring exhibit, “Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms”, which is currently on tour around the United State and returning to Stockbridge in September of 2020.

Broadcast dates

Saturday at 3:00 pm (PDT) in Los Angeles, 7:00 pm (PDT) in San Francisco/ Bay Area:

  • Episode 1: June 27
  • Episode 2: July 4
  • Episode 3: July 11
  • Episode 4: July 18
  • Episode 5: July 25
  • Episode 6: August 1

About Academy of Art University

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is one of the largest private accredited art and design schools in the nation. Located in San Francisco, the epicenter of culture and technology, Academy of Art University offers more than 135 accredited degree programs spanning 40 areas of study, including entertainment arts, advertising, fashion, architecture, game development, music, communication, photography and more.  For more information, please visit

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