Kia participated in ‘Milan Design Week 2023’. The automaker exhibited works expressing the brand's design philosophy, 'Opposites United - Creative Fusion of Opposite Concepts', at the Museo della Permanente in Milan, Italy, from April 17th to April 23rd. This is Opposite United's first solo exhibition held outside South Korea. But why Milan?
Milan Design Week began in 1961 as an exhibition to promote the Italian furniture industry. But now, it has been reborn as a large-scale design festival covering various fields of modern industry such as architecture, fashion, materials, automobiles, and IT. This is why so many brands present their design visions through Milan. In other words, Kia's participation in the Milan Design Week solidified the path forward for Kia in Europe and the world.
The focus of this Milan exhibition was media art. They thought that experience is more effective than words when it comes to communicating with the public on the subject of Opposites United, which can sound difficult. So Kia installed several media art works so that people can feel Opposites United through their five senses. It is similar to the ‘Opposites United special exhibition’ that Kia held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul last October, but the perfection of the exhibition has been improved and the composition has been renewed.
Kia showcased various media arts across seven booths. The automaker created each booth in line with Opposites United's five core agendas: 'Bold for Nature', 'Joy for Reason', 'Tension for Serenity', 'Technology for Life' and 'Power to Progress,’ including a lobby where visitors can check out the basic concepts of Opposites United, and a lounge that helps them understand all the concepts.
Opposites United's five core philosophies represent Kia's commitment to its customers. For example, ‘Bold for Nature’ implies their will to pursue bold beauty toward humans with respect for everything from nature. In design, examples include clear and simple lines, bold and ever-changing surfaces, and organic yet technical structures and finishes.
Other core philosophies are similar. 'Joy for Reason' refers to their will to cherish even small unexpected joys, and 'Tension for Serenity' reflects their pursuit of a balance that can be harmonious even in the midst of chaos - in design, for example, sensuous colors that stimulate emotions, great details that complete different elements harmoniously.
And ‘Technology for Life’ embodies Kia’s commitment to providing its customers with memorable experiences in everyday life. This refers to the interaction between the customer and the car. In design, an example would be user experience (UX), which focuses on how customers interact with their cars.
Lastly, ‘Power to Progress’ symbolizes their will to continue redefining progress and drawing the future for new values. Based on their experience and creativity, Kia is showing innovative design every time, and it will not stop. Kia's future design will continue to evolve.
At the same time, Kia has made its vision of future design clear to us; And Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Design Center Karim Habib has put it this way: “We are committed to providing our customers with greater social connection and enriched lives, by providing innovative experiences that harmonize between nature and modern society.”
Kia Motors CEO Ho-sung Song explained Kia's design philosophy as follows: “Kia's design philosophy is not simply reflected in the looks of vehicles, but also reflects Kia's commitment to develop in harmony with the two areas of human mobility and environmental sustainability. Through our Opposites United philosophy, we look forward to innovative initiatives that leave a legacy for future generations while providing a unique experience to our customers.”
So basically, for Kia, Opposites United is more than just a design philosophy; How can we achieve harmony between the two areas, human mobility and environmental sustainability? Kia seeks to solve today's mobility problems with its vision for tomorrow: 'Sustainable Design'.
Starting with the use of bioplastics and biofibers in the Soul EV in 2014, Kia has steadily increased its use of sustainable materials. Recently, they decided to further reduce the car's environmental impact, starting with the EV9. After EV9, they plan to gradually reduce the use of animal leather in all products. Replacing leather and PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) with recycled materials reduces the use of toxic chemicals and the amount of carbon emitted during production.
In particular, the EV9 is special by using 10 sustainable eco-friendly materials. We used recycled materials such as PET bottles, plastics, and discarded fishing nets. In addition, Kia is researching leather substitutes using mycelium. It can mimic various textures and can be dyed, so it can be used throughout the cabin space. In particular, thanks to its high tensile strength, it is suitable for long-lasting car seats.
Kia is pouring its soul to achieve carbon neutrality to be a sustainable mobility solutions provider. It aims to increase the use of recycled plastics to 20% by 2030 and achieve complete carbon neutrality by 2045. Kia's design philosophy, Opposites United, includes sustainable design for the green future.
Kia's design philosophy, Opposites United, holds so many stories and futures. Maybe that's why Kia's Opposites United exhibition won The Audience Award of the Fuorisalone Award in Technology, which selects the best works at Milan Design Week. Among the 12 finalists chosen by local judges, Kia was the only automobile brand. In addition, after the audience voting, the automaker ranked 3rd overall among about 1,000 exhibitions. This proves that Kia's design philosophy has convinced many. Still, its impact on the global market has just begun.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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