Good design isn’t just about looking good; it can merge form and function, transforming everyday objects into something truly exceptional. In line with this vision, Samsung and TOILETPAPER debuted a collection at Fuorisalone 2023 in April as part of Milan Fashion Week that aimed to redefine the essence of good design.
Samsung and TOILETPAPER, the creative studio founded in 2010 by renowned Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, introduced four new limited-edition Bespoke refrigerator door panels. TOILETPAPER’s distinct and eye-catching style has been seamlessly incorporated into these new designs, highlighting the studio’s characteristic playful and surreal aesthetics. This collaboration offers consumers exciting opportunities to personalize their kitchens and pushes the boundaries of what’s possible within the Bespoke style.
To discuss the inspiration behind the collaboration, Samsung Newsroom spoke with the founders of TOILETPAPER, Micol Talso, Art Director and Project Lead at TOILETPAPER, and Jidam Hong, Head of Bespoke’s Aesthetic Intelligence Design Group at Samsung.
What were your initial thoughts about Samsung and TOILETPAPER’s collaboration on the new Bespoke panels? Were there any similarities in approach that stood out?
TOILETPAPER founders: TOILETPAPER and Samsung are both trying to break away from limitations, challenge norms and showcase a wide range of possibilities. TOILETPAPER does this through surreal images, disrupting existing design conventions to help people see how interesting familiar, everyday objects can be. Samsung Bespoke achieves this goal by handing over more control to the people using its appliances through personalization and customization options, which is an exciting approach for appliance designers. This common vision made us a good match. Everything can be a canvas for our images, so why not appliances? Our designs don’t necessarily have to live in magazines and inside design studios – now, they can exist in the kitchen too.
Hong (Samsung): Personalization was always a crucial part of our philosophy at Bespoke, and we were already well aware of TOILETPAPER’s colorful, evocative work. The studio’s designs have a striking but approachable feel, which is particularly popular with Millennial and Gen Z users. We felt that collaborating with TOILETPAPER would be an excellent next step forward in Bespoke’s personalization journey. Applying the eye-catching designs to our Bespoke refrigerators was an enriching creative experience, and we hope to use this work as a jumping-off point to expand into new designs in the future.
As an Art Director and Head of Design, respectively, you must both have a wealth of experience leading various projects. Which of these has had the most lasting impact on you?
Talso (TOILETPAPER): Since we first started TOILETPAPER, each project has been unique and exciting. Maybe that’s why I’m still here – the sense of surprise, the change, throwing oneself into new experiences and exploring unknown territories. It’s the lack of repetitiveness in TOILETPAPER’s creative process that attracts me most to it, thanks to our studio leaders Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. They’ve always had the curiosity and courage to go further, whether it’s shifting from a magazine to a fashion brand or developing interactive exhibitions and designing everyday objects. Usually, when something works well, there is a temptation not to change it. But at TOILETPAPER, we have continued to evolve by being open to unusual collaborations, such as this latest one with Bespoke.
Hong: We have covered the Color, Material and Finish – or “CMF” – of a wide range of kitchen and home products, and each project has been an opportunity to learn and grow. We have been designing the CMF of home appliances: working with new shades and textures; staying on top of design trends; and learning how to push these trends further. This collaboration with TOILETPAPER was particularly interesting because the studio’s aesthetic has wholly different origins from the functional perspective that home appliance designs typically come from.
What does Samsung’s design vision of True Customization have in common with TOILETPAPER?
Hong: Samsung’s vision of True Customization is about embracing creativity and uniqueness that lets us truly express ourselves as individuals. We want our appliances to be subtle when they need to be – sometimes customers need a product to blend in with and accentuate the existing style of their kitchens – but we also want our customers to be able to “go big” if they want to. TOILETPAPER’s work perfectly encapsulates this goal with striking images that make a statement. Just as TOILETPAPER is about making the mundane remarkable, Samsung believes Bespoke’s vision of True Customization is about breaking down design boundaries and showcasing what’s possible when you unleash your imagination.
TOILETPAPER founders: We think that both Samsung and TOILETPAPER work towards spreading creativity that speaks universally across cultures. By finding fresh new ways to present bold colors and exploring different mediums, our work can have a meaningful impact on people around the world. Ultimately, we think TOILETPAPER and Samsung Bespoke’s vision is to showcase extraordinary things in even the ordinary parts of life.
TOILETPAPER has collaborated with various brands, from Nike, Armani and Kenzo to Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW. How was this project with Samsung Bespoke different from previous collaborations?
Talso: The partnership with Samsung, the first home appliance brand we ever collaborated with, was certainly unique and memorable – and that’s exactly what we liked about it. We have collaborated with fashion, design and beauty brands, but the thought of working with a technology brand in the world of home appliances had never occurred to us. We thought it was an amazing opportunity to challenge ourselves with a new medium. It’s very liberating when you collaborate with a client and feel the possibilities are endless.
What message would you like this limited-edition TOILETPAPER collection to convey to people?
Talso: Both Samsung and TOILETPAPER have embraced the desire to encourage self-expression and personal style through customization: Samsung with its transformative product design and the customizable Bespoke panels and TOILETPAPER with our bold, colorful and flamboyant images that can speak to a cross-generational audience. I think that technology and art work very well together – the first speaks more to the brain, the second to the heart.
Hong: Samsung has enjoyed many collaborations and held several contests that showcase the depth and breadth of Bespoke design, but these new designs by TOILETPAPER are taking our style to exciting new levels. The Bespoke lineup mostly employs a smooth, minimalist look that helps it harmonize with any décor, and our work with TOILETPAPER shows that this minimalism can also act as a blank canvas. Bespoke’s TOILETPAPER panels are bold, vivid and playful. They bring a whole standard of artistic expression to our appliances, and we hope they will let people completely reimagine the aesthetic potential of the objects that surround them every day.
Bespoke X TOILETPAPER collaborations, available at Samsung.com, are coming soon to Samsung 837 in New York City. To learn more about Samsung Bespoke, including the latest collaboration with TOILETPAPER and the Bespoke Life 2023 event, stay tuned to Samsung US Newsroom.