Unconfined: The Galaxy S8 Design was a multi-sensory experience fusing sound, moving images, architectural forms and interactivity, created by Universal Everything and Zaha Hadid Architects for Samsung at BASE Milano during Milan Design Week 2017. The installation attracted 33,000 visitors who were among the first to interact with the Galaxy S8’s innovative features, using the device to create digital avatars. It showcased the Galaxy philosophy of seamlessly unified design and technology to the international design community.
Nominating Company: Universal Everything, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, U.K.
Venue: BASE Milano, London, U.K.
Project: Unconfined: The Samsung Galaxy S8 Launch at BASE Milano
Category: Immersive Environments
Unconfined was a unique artist/architect collaboration commissioned by Samsung to launch the Galaxy S8 at BASE, an industrial building in Milan’s design district, during Milan Design Week in April 2017. The temporary brand experience took the form of visitor-generated visual content, created with tools art-directed by Universal Everything, embedded onto structures by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Visitors created digital forms in an app developed by Universal Everything that they ‘swiped’ off the smartphone and onto the architectural forms. They could then move through the space, spotting their creations amongst the flock, becoming part of the art installation.
The objective was to express the smartphone’s features in a way never seen before, to ensure the Galaxy S8 would stand out in a crowded marketplace and make an impression on the international design community. It also aimed to demonstrate the power of Samsung products to enable people to change the world around them.
The main difficulty was displaying seamless video content across the irregular, curved surfaces of the forms designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. These structural forms produced a screen format beyond the traditional black rectangle, which opened up endless creative possibilities while posing several unique design challenges at the same time.
Other difficulties involved managing real-time interactive video output across seven displays. We also wanted to ensure that every visitor creation was unique and identifiable while simultaneously respecting Samsung brand guidelines, and that each visitor had an intimate, ambient experience despite welcoming 30,000+ visitors over the course of the week.
To meet these display challenges, we paid careful attention to perfecting alignment and visitor eye lines. We used multiple projectors – two for each of the seven displays. We also made use of masking and mapping, and played with lens distortion and virtual camera positioning techniques to create the desired effect.
The installation welcomed more than 33,000 visitors over the course of Milan Design Week, many of whom are very influential in the international design industry. Each visitor had the chance to interact with the latest in Samsung innovation, feeling the sense of pride that comes from seeing their creation become instantly part of an installation. The installation became busier day after day as news of this unique experience offered by the latest Samsung smartphone spread by word of mouth, on social media and in the press.
As Universal Everything and Zaha Hadid Architects are well respected in the design community, this collaboration helped Samsung generate PR beyond the technology press, with the installation being featured in high-profile design, lifestyle and architecture titles including Vogue Italia, Arch Daily, Design Boom, Elle Decor Italia, Architectural Digest, Hypebeast, and more.
Zaha Hadid Architects