Samsung hires former president of Jony Ive's old design studio for global initiative

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
Looking to freshen up its product range, Samsung in January found a new head of global design in Don-tae Lee, former co-president of a London-based design consultancy called Tangerine, which had Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive as one of its earliest employees.


New Samsung head of global design Don-tae Lee. | Source: TCDC via YouTube


With Lee heading up its global design team, Samsung looks to bring Tangerine's design "DNA" to its product lineup, and hopes to mirror the success Apple found with Ive, reports Korea Joongang Daily. The Korean company previously worked with Tangerine on various design concepts, including a bathtub.

Lee, a a Seoul native who graduated from the UK's Royal College of Art in London, started at Tangerine as an intern in 1998 before moving quickly through the ranks to end up as co-president in 2005. He is perhaps best known for an ingenious S-shaped airline seating arrangement that won the Interior Design Excellence Awards' Grand Prix in 2001. British Airways adopted the seats, which afford enough room to fold out into a flat bed, in both its business class and first class cabins. He also teaches industrial design at Hongik University in Seoul.

Aside from working for the firm where Ive cut his teeth, there is little evidence that Lee's philosophies overlap those of the renowned Apple designer. For one, Lee started at Tangerine some six years after Ive left for Apple.

Tangerine was founded in 1989 by Martin Darbyshire, its current CEO, as well as Clive Griner. Ive joined Tangerine in its second year, and was one of the first four people at the consultancy. He eventually left for Apple after working on "Project Juggernaut" for the company.

Former Apple design chief Robert Brunner discovered Ive through a contract with Tangerine and, after seeing his work, tried to lure him away from his work in the U.K. to Cupertino. As Ive put it in a recent interview, he had to choose between working with Apple and designing bathroom fixtures for a British ceramics company.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29

    They realize they didn't hire Jony Jr, right?

  • Reply 2 of 29
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Some guy did some stuff a long time ago with some other people and now works for somebody else that does stuff.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,591member
    Samsung execs have been spotted at Jony Ive's childhood schools and teenage haunts, notebook in hand asking probing questions about his likes and dislikes. They have been observed in restaurants trying to catch a glimpse of what Jony is ordering and they have been seen following the man into clothing stores and reappearing with identical purchases. All in a desperate effort to pick up some of that elusive JI DNA. This latest hire will bring them one step closer.

    Apparently they have been spotted all over Robertsdale, Alabama, too.

    It may take time but Samsung will not give up until they have gathered enough DNA to beat Apple at its own game. They will decode and reassemble the DNA in a special dedicated lab at Samsung HQ and will eventually drizzle it all over Its computer, tablet and smartphone operations, from their top secret design studios (Apple Style) to the final assembly lines.

    When that day comes.... WOOOSH! [mind blown]
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Samsung had two requirements, otherwise Lee's hiring wouldn't be Apple-like! Those requirements are that he speak with an English accent. The other, he pronounces 'aluminum' in that cute Jony Ive way...
  • Reply 5 of 29
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,442member

    What's he growing in the petri dishes?

  • Reply 6 of 29
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    Maybe it's time Samsung found it's own point of difference, instead of trying to beat people who have been doing it far better for far longer.
  • Reply 7 of 29

    Next up - Samsung holds a job fair at Duke University in search of their next Supply Chain / Operations protege

  • Reply 8 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    Next up - Samsung holds a job fair at Duke University in search of their next Supply Chain / Operations protege


     

    Actually, Samsung has head hunters looking for a gay CEO.

     

    I've also heard that Samsung has hired Woz and Kutcher to design their next phone in a garage. Samsung has decided to start at the beginning to see if that works.

  • Reply 9 of 29
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    They realize they didn't hire Jony Jr, right?




    But...but... he's a friend, that knows a friend, that met some guy, who overheard a conversation about a dude, that had an "in' with Ive.



    Really, it's practically like having Ive on staff!!! /s



    Samsung is getting desperate now.



    I've met Ive a few times on occasion at the gym we both work-out at.  Maybe I should wait by the phone in case Samsung decides to call me!!

  • Reply 10 of 29
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    They realize they didn't hire Jony Jr, right?




    Trying to hire a really good designer is a good move for them though.

  • Reply 11 of 29
    Samsung tried to clone Jony, but failed. So they hire him instead.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Just to put the record straight %u2026.

    Jony (Jonathan) Ive joined tangerine when the consultancy was in its second year. tangerine was founded in 1989 by the current CEO, Martin Darbyshire and Clive Grinyer. Jonathan Ive was one of the first four people at the consultancy and made a valuable contribution. Jonathan left to join Apple after tangerine had worked on Project Juggernaut for the computer giant.

    Don-tae Lee joined tangerine in 1998 having completed his Masters at the RCA in London.

    In 1998 tangerine began work on the, now famous, British Airways%u2019 Club World seat. This project was led by tangerine founder and CEO, Martin Darbyshire and the victorious concept was designed by tangerine%u2019s Creative Director Matt Round. Don-tae Lee was a member of the project team.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    Why so harsh on the man? He has done some good work:

    From an 2013 [URL=http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131007000960]article[/URL]:

    [quote]Now one of the co-presidents of Tangerine, Lee is known redesigning British Airways’ business cabin and its seating configuration. Tangerine reportedly increased the airline’s annual profit by $738 million in 2000, as a result. The design won Lee the Interior Design Excellence Awards’ Grand Prix the following year.

    “You need both insight and foresight,” said Lee. [/quote]

    That Tangerine company designed some funky stuff:

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/54353/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]
  • Reply 14 of 29
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Sodsong™

  • Reply 15 of 29
    paxman wrote: »
    Samsung execs have been spotted at Jony Ive's childhood schools and teenage haunts, notebook in hand asking probing questions about his likes and dislikes. They have been observed in restaurants trying to catch a glimpse of what Jony is ordering and they have been seen following the man into clothing stores and reappearing with identical purchases. All in a desperate effort to pick up some of that elusive JI DNA. This latest hire will bring them one step closer.

    Apparently they have been spotted all over Robertsdale, Alabama, too.

    It may take time but Samsung will not give up until they have gathered enough DNA to beat Apple at its own game. They will decode and reassemble the DNA in a special dedicated lab at Samsung HQ and will eventually drizzle it all over Its computer, tablet and smartphone operations, from their top secret design studios (Apple Style) to the final assembly lines.

    When that day comes.... WOOOSH! [mind blown]

    You do know, I hope, that Jony Ive's DNA is also in his most satisfying dump? Einstein's genius can't be duplicated by interviewing his cook or his past wives. And H.W. Bush's leadership abilities can't be found in his offspring.

    All that said, it's a good move for Samsung to buy a professional designer... such people are highly put off by being told to copy someone else's designs. Now, I ask, can one man change the culture of a group of crooks and thieves? Especially since he's not part of the leadership mafia.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    philboogie wrote: »
    Why so harsh on the man? He has done some good work:

    That Tangerine company designed some funky stuff:

    1000

    I am impressed! But where's the flush handle?
  • Reply 17 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,007member
    ascii wrote: »

    Trying to hire a really good designer is a good move for them though.

    Agreed, for one thing this would be the first experience of integrity at Samsung, he would not rip off one of Jony's designs as all his predecessors have. That said, I don't envy his position. If he doesn't pull off some massive successes pretty quickly he will be told to go back to copying Apple or leave. In truth Apple's success is not just the design it is a that and all the other things that Samsung can never copy so ... basically he is screwed.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,007member
    I am impressed! But where's the flush handle?

    Nooo it's a dentist's spittoon.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Agreed, for one thing this would be the first experience of integrity at Samsung, he would not rip off one of Jony's designs as all his predecessors have. That said, I don't envy his position. If he doesn't pull off some massive successes pretty quickly he will be told to go back to copying Apple or leave. In truth Apple's success is not just the design it is a that and all the other things that Samsung can never copy so ... basically he is screwed.



    Yes, there would be a lot of expectation. And management would have to give him a lot of creative control like Steve Jobs did to Jony Ive and Tim Cook has let continue. I don't know the Samsung management, if they're capable of that, or are the kind who all want to add their own 2c to the design.

  • Reply 20 of 29
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Do we know if Jony knows this guy or has ever worked with him. It's been 20+ years since he left Tangerine.
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