[Interview] How Samsung’s Art Platforms Are Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Through Design Collaborations
LONDON, UK, 5th December 2022 – Boldly drawn lines and vivid colors within an artwork can grab a person’s attention. As the viewer interacts with the artwork, they can see through the artist’s eyes and get a glimpse into their unique perspective.
The artworks below were created in collaboration with the Special Designers of KIMUSTUDIO (KIMU), an organization breaking down societal barriers through content. The Special Designers are a team of designers with developmental disabilities who are working to create unique and captivating works of art for the world.
Now, their works of art can be seen on a variety of Samsung Electronics’ art platforms. Samsung and KIMUSTUDIO have come together to unveil a new, special project with the goal of bringing KIMU’s unique, aesthetic pieces and values to the daily lives of consumers. To find out more about the Drawing Diversity Project, Samsung Newsroom met with the project members and learned about the team and how this collaboration came together.
Art Platform Contents: Simply Consuming Art Expands the Value of D&I
“We thought long and hard about what Samsung’s consumers can do in their daily lives to join us in making a better future,” said Bora Kim from the Corporate Sustainability Center, who planned the Drawing Diversity Project. “We thought that if we can uphold the values of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in our products and services, then our consumers would be able to naturally participate in consuming and spreading these values,” she explained.
“At KIMUSTUDIO, all members complement each other and are placed in roles that utilize their talents and strengths,” said Yeonji Chee from the Corporate Sustainability Center when explaining how the cooperation with KIMUSTUDIO began. “KIMUSTUDIO does not provide one-sided help, but instead encourages everyone to accept the way they are and unleash their talent. Creating artwork in this way coincided with our vision to create a sustainable future through collaboration and mutual growth with various employees, partners and stakeholders.”
“When it comes to this collaboration, we can’t help but mention the quality of the artwork of KIMUSTUDIO,” Chee said. “First of all, we were mesmerized by the distinct works of art that are unique to KIMUSTUDIO. Not only did I personally like the bright colors and charming style of the artworks, but the quality of them was also outstanding and suitable to be presented to our consumers through Samsung’s art platforms,” Chee added.
“The artworks of KIMU break stereotypes that have previously created prejudice in art. They instead help us to provide new perspectives on the differences between people,” Kim said. “We wanted to share KIMU’s artworks, which integrate art and the values of D&I seamlessly, with consumers through Samsung’s products and services,” she said.
When consumers purchase the Special Designers’ artworks on Samsung’s art platforms, a portion of the proceeds are immediately shared with KIMU. In this way, consumers can participate both in promoting the values of D&I in their daily lives while appreciating the beautiful artworks of KIMU.
Sharing the Value of Diversity with the Broader World
KIMU’s artworks are created through a collaboration of many individuals. The Special Designers and other team members work together by utilizing their own unique, artistic talents, including sketching, coloring, design and more. A total of 16 KIMU designers worked together for Samsung’s Drawing Diversity Project.
However, displaying artwork through art platforms is different than displaying artwork in galleries, which was the platform KIMU was most familiar with. The role of the electronic devices that display the artwork and the characteristics of those products, such as where they are usually placed, had to be considered as well. Additionally, the project participants needed to consider how TVs, smartphones and refrigerators are utilized throughout viewers’ daily lives.
“We organized the different styles of artworks considering the unique features of Samsung’s art platforms, which allow artworks to be easily accessible in people’s daily lives,” said CEO of KIMUSTUDIO, Jang-won Nam. “How we create art has been diversified from our existing artworks and we’ve created new patterns, sceneries and artistic objects based on projects that we were working on. As a result, we’ve created artworks that are more artistic and present a new aura.”
The artworks that are usually square-shaped were adjusted according to the specific device sizes, and diverse, new patterns, designs and themes were created as well. Additionally, artwork displayed on refrigerators usually contains nature and animals, giving the impression that the kitchen and external space are connected and creating a more spacious vibe within the home.
“For Bespoke Atelier and the Art Store, we thought of artworks that would go well with the design elements, such as colors and forms that are unique to home appliances,” Hur said. “For Galaxy Themes, which users interact with on a daily basis on their smartphones, we focused on creating trendy colors or styles that suit users’ preferences.”
Although the platform for displaying artwork has changed, the project made an effort to maintain KIMU’s unique vibe. Special Designers Taegyu Lee and ByungHun Song participated in the project and elaborated on the process of creating artwork. “We tried to draw something we like in a unique way and that process was enjoyable,” the designers said.
“The part that makes me the happiest is that the platform for KIMU’s contents has expanded thanks to the collaboration with Samsung, a company that has consumers all over the world,” said Ran Hur, Manager of KIMU’s Bridge Team, who is in charge of hiring Special Designers for partnerships. “We hope KIMU’s artworks will be a positive influence and help KIMU move closer to its goal of breaking down barriers through content.”
Samsung’s Art Platforms Shed Light on the Value of D&I in Different Places
Three business divisions at Samsung participated in this collaborative project, making this collaboration a new challenge for KIMU.
“The direction and value sought by each platform were clear, so coming up with an optimal way to develop them was an enjoyable and valuable experience.” CEO Nam said.
The managers of each business division in charge of exhibiting KIMU’s artworks also explained their perspective on the project.
How Working Together to Create Content Breaks Down Barriers in the World
“KIMU, where the Special Designers and other team members all play an essential role in creating content, shows what D&I is all about,” Bora Kim said.
“With this project, I hope we can also consider the values of D&I and sustainability when planning other services,” said Chee. “I also hope we can continue to expand the diversity of the creators who provide content for Samsung’s various services, as well as its art platforms.”
The values of D&I are present in all of KIMU’s artworks. “This project with Samsung has been special and valuable to each of us,” CEO Nam said. “I’m overwhelmed with joy to have this opportunity to showcase the talents of our designers through their artwork, allowing the values of D&I to be communicated and recognized throughout the world. I hope the distinct aura and stories of KIMU will resonate well with the viewers through the art platforms.”
Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion within the UK…
As a commitment to D&I, on International Day of Disabled Persons, Samsung’s experience space in King’s Cross London, Samsung KX, turned its external window lights purple. The colour purple is the official colour used to represent IDDP and encourages all to reflect and make commitments on disability inclusion. The theme this year from the UN is ‘transformative solutions for inclusive development’, which Samsung as a leader in innovative and inclusive technology, is proud to have supported on the 3rd December 2022.
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