We meet Mr. Chang on the eighth floor of the Diamantino building, in a small, comfortable room overlooking the new Milan skyline at Porta Nuova: during the week of the FuoriSalone in Milan, this was the site of the opening of the Samsung District, the headquarters of Samsung Italia. Dong-hoon Chang, Head of Design Strategy of the Corporate Design Center, told us about future scenarios of the Samsung digital revolution. Starting with the installation “Embrace: Sensorial Experience” presented by the Korean firm during Design Week.
Mr. Chang, a technology that ‘embraces’ us to give us a unique experience: Is this the Samsung design philosophy?
The relationship between people and technology and its evolution over time represent the starting point for the creation of all our products.
The Samsung design philosophy is based on the needs of human beings, to create and improve their future. Of course when we talk about design we think about concepts like style, functional quality, service… but our main point of reference is people. So in the final analysis the key element of our design is what type of value we offer our clients.
The installation “Embrace: Sensorial Experience” attempts to explain how our devices are designed not just to be functional, but also to determine a new kind of interaction with users. The goal is to break down barriers and to trigger a natural experience…
Can you clarify that concept?
People see a product, they buy it, they use it, and then at a certain point they decide to replace it. It is a sort of process, a ‘life cycle’ during which, through that product, we want people to have experiences and emotions, to experience values: this is what we call ‘experience design,’ with a focus on the whole process, from start to finish.
You were honored in 2013 as one of the most ‘creative’ people in the world by fast company, the international magazine that covers innovation: in your view, how are creativity and technological development connected?
To connect technology, art and people is already a form of creativity. For Samsung the role of design, and its creative sphere, lies precisely in grasping the potential of technology, transforming it into value for our clients. The central element, for us, is and will always be the human being.
Are you saying that Samsung puts its technology and expertise at the service of the community?
Definitely. The ultimate aim of product design is to enrich the life of people. But you can also go further, i.e. by proposing new lifestyles, new values people didn’t know about before, making their lives more comfortable and in step with modernity.
I believe digital innovation can make an enormous contribution to society: at present, we have Research Centers that conduct their activities in six different countries,
precisely to be fully engaged in individual territorial realities.
As happened here in Milan with the recent opening of the Samsung district at Porta Nuova…
Yes. This is a technological district, which through innovative spaces wants to promote digitalization and Italian socio-economic growth: from the Smart Arena, an auditorium equipped with the finest technologies, available to citizens, companies and institutions, to the Smart Home, the first showroom open to the public for a firsthand experience of the benefits of the Samsung digital ecosystem.
So Milan is an important point of reference for your company?
For us the Lombardy capital is a sort of Mecca, the design hub, the fulcrum around which the excellence of Italian business and creativity turn: here, 10 years ago, Samsung presented its design strategy: to be able to understand Milan, putting down roots in its territory, has allowed us to better develop our design. To promote new values.
by Laura Ragazzola – photos by David Zanardi