Korean tech giant Samsung has joined forces with Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject to develop a new model for home entertainment. Launching tonight in Paris, The Frame is a concept television with a design created to fit seamlessly into a home and appear as appealing when off as it is when in use.
‘A home is an expression of personal taste, functional needs and interests,’ says Béhar. ‘The television is no exception.’ He and the Samsung team started looking at it as an integral part of the home and daily life: ‘What if the TV display in my home delivered a different experience? What if the TV disappeared in the décor when it’s not in use?’
The design that followed looks less like a television and more like a sophisticated picture frame, with a border available in white and wood veneers. Béhar’s clean, minimal aesthetic features subtle industrial design details, such as an attachment that allows the TV to be freestanding.
But it’s not just the discreet design that makes The Frame an innovative entertaining tool. The ultra HD TV features a sensor-based display that adapts to the light in the room and, when not in use, it can be switched to ‘Art Mode’, displaying a static artwork and blending in with the environment. A sensor turns the screen off when no movement is detected in the room. Béhar notes that the digital interface behind this was as important as the hardware design: the platform had to appeal to a variety of users, while also being respectful to the art on show.
For the ‘Art Mode’ contents, Béhar and Samsung partnered with art advisor Elise Van Middelem, who curated an initial selection of 100 works ranging from photography to illustrations, across 38 artists and ten genres (users can also add personal images to the cache). ‘I was immediately attracted by the possibility of demystifying the art experience,’ says Van Middelem, who worked closely with art industry experts to create the portfolio. ‘My goal was to find artwork that transcends the experience of traditional wallpaper or stock photography, and to replicate the feeling of entering a digital gallery exhibition, every artwork being carefully selected.’
The artworks include architectural photography by Todd Eberle and Nacho Alegre, works from Tobias Rehberger’s 2016 series Screamsavers and mixed-media collages by Barry McGee, among others. ‘Participating within The Frame is a step out of [the artists’] comfort zone,’ notes Van Middelem. ‘After all, we were asking them to show their work on an entirely new platform.’ The artists, she adds, were fantastic at embracing experimentation. ‘The Frame has the potential to change our perception of viewing art. How it is approached, collected and displayed. It allows anyone to learn about art through living with it.’
Béhar adds that the art selection was conceived as becoming a virtual museum for the home, expanding the television's traditional remit. ‘The Frame shifts our paradigm of what a television can be; on or off,’ he concludes. ‘It adds value to our walls and our daily life.’