[Interview] Galaxy Unpacked 2023: A New Galaxy Inside Seoul From the Viewpoint of ‘Squid Game’ Art DirectorShare open/close
Hosted in Seoul, South Korea for the first time, Galaxy Unpacked 2023 celebrated the technological innovation of Samsung Electronics and the cultural heritage of Korea’s capital city.
Visitors at Galaxy Unpacked 2023 could experience Samsung’s latest products inside a space decorated like a “hanok,” or traditional Korean-style house.
The Experience Zone was masterfully crafted by Kyung-sun Chae, art director of the global hit series “Squid Game.” Samsung Newsroom met with Chae to learn about the creation behind the one-of-a-kind Experience Zone at Galaxy Unpacked 2023.
Q. How do you feel being the director overseeing the Experience Zone at the first Galaxy Unpacked held in Seoul?
I’m proud that I got to showcase various features of the latest Galaxy devices and highlight Seoul’s charm to countless people through Galaxy Unpacked. My favorite part of this experience was developing the initial concepts for the Experience Zone. Through this event, I now have a new desire to introduce Korean culture and spaces to a wider audience using Galaxy technology.
Q. What are some differences between the Experience Zone you created for Galaxy Unpacked and production designs you’ve created in the past?
Production design is about visualizing text in video — it’s all about expressing the textual themes and distinct attributes of the characters in a visually effective manner.
For Galaxy Unpacked, I had to take a different approach from directing a production since actual visitors would be attending and experiencing the space in person. Because it’s the first time that new Galaxy devices are being unveiled in South Korea, I focused on presenting the modern aesthetics of Galaxy and accentuating the true beauty of Seoul, the city where tradition and technology coexist.
Q. What is the concept of the Experience Zone at Galaxy Unpacked 2023?
To me, it was meaningful that the event was hosted in Seoul. I wanted to create a harmonious space that displayed a fresh perspective of the city alongside the new Galaxy devices. This is how I decided on the concept of the Experience Zone — preserving existing perspectives, unfolding folded perspectives and sharing new perspectives.
To convey this, I actively utilized hanok, an architecture unique to Korea. As the traditional structure of hanok shares some similarities with the foldable structure of the Galaxy Z Flip5, I presented the experience of seeing one’s perspective expand or unfold by leaning on the structure of the hanok. I included themes of “openness” and “infinite expansion” from the world of Galaxy to complete the experience.
In addition, I applied Korean traditional landscape architecture, “chagyeong,” which means to lend scenery. In hanok, a window is like a frame that holds nature. Chagyeong allows you to fully appreciate nature and enjoy the expanded space through the frame, even from within the hanok. I implemented this design principle while designing and directing the Experience Zone.
I developed each Galaxy product booth using “changho,” the Korean traditional door of a hanok, and positioned them to form the shape of a lotus flower. Behind the traditional Korean door, the night view and futuristic landscape of Seoul are visible. Visitors can appreciate the new Galaxy products in a different light, as the products merge with the Seoul backdrop.
Lastly, I placed traditional elements throughout the entire Experience Zone. I recreated what Seoul looked like in the past by using the traditional walls and structure of hanok as well as other historical items such as “soban,” a small tray-like table. I designed the wall with glass material to mirror the vision behind Galaxy, which seeks to preserve existing values while continuing to evolve and innovate.
I hope the visitors will enjoy both the Seoul skyline and the new Galaxy products through this unique space.
Q. What inspiration did you get from the new Galaxy products when designing the space?
The Galaxy Z Flip5 has many unique characteristics with its ingenious foldable form factor and sophisticated design. These characteristics resemble Seoul as the city simultaneously embraces both tradition and modernity by combining the familiar with the unfamiliar. In particular, I used the decalcomania method, inspired by the Galaxy Z series, to portray Seoul at both day and night.
I highlighted the contrast between the city’s day and night by using black and white in the background. I also utilized the mint color of the Galaxy devices and Korean traditional patchwork material to create Seoul’s cityscape, which shine brightly at all times of the day. In addition, I expressed shadows by utilizing Galaxy products. The structure that was made with the folding screen as the motif, in which visitors can draw the shadows to express their uniqueness, was inspired by Galaxy foldable.
Q. You have been the art director of various historical TV dramas that capture the different aesthetics of Seoul. Did that influence the design process when creating the Experience Zone for Galaxy Unpacked?
Throughout the ideation and creation process for Galaxy Unpacked, I aspired to create a space that gave visitors a chance to enjoy traditional Korean hanok as well as Galaxy products. I hope that everyone who visits the Experience Zone will have a memorable experience at the very first Galaxy Unpacked event in Seoul.
Check out photos from the Experience Zone at Galaxy Unpacked 2023 in the photos below.
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