Thoughts on Taipei Design Scene & World Design Capital 2016

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My City My Voice

On my vacation at Taipei, I visited Ximending in the weekend, when coincidentally, The City of Taipei was hosting an event engaging people in making a wish for the World Design Capital, by allowing people to write on colorful stones on what they want Taipei to be in 2016.

Taipei is doing a tremendous amount to improve the design scene and culture in order to compete for the WDC 2016. One of the purposes of my trip was to get a sense of what the design culture was like. So, here’s a personal view of what I got. Scroll down for a link of resources on Taipei Design.

The Red House

The Red House, in the background, with the characters: 西门红楼

The Red House, in the background, with the characters: 西门红楼

A former theater and performing arts building as well as a market in central Taipei, The Red House is now a showcase for local independent Taipei Designers to sell their handmade goods/crafts/arts of all sorts. I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of specific stores, but here are some other photos from another traveler.

Some wishes from people

Some wishes from people

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A select list of designers in the store (some wouldn’t allow photography)

By the way, look up these designers!

Some designers sell clothes

Some designers sell clothes

In addition, every weekend, the WDC holds a weekly fair/market where several tents come out and designers sell their art.

YarnBall

YarnBall: She makes postcards, and calendars representing Taiwan’s unique heritage and culture.

Link to her store here! She’s an extremely kind, humble person to talk with.

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Huashan Creative Park

Huashan Creative Park, outside

Huashan Creative Park, outside

A former wine factory in the early 20th Century, the Huashan Creative Park has recently become one of Taipei’s creative arts centers, where performers/artists can showcase their work, movie festivals take place, design shops such as the 1914 Connection take place.

1914 Connection, one of the stores in Huashan Creative Park

1914 Connection, one of the stores in Huashan Creative Park

Mr. Eyeball

Mr. Eyeball

 

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Saw several people doing their wedding photos here.

Saw several people doing their wedding photos here.

Forgot the name of this store but these handbags were pretty cool

Forgot the name of this store but these handbags were pretty cool

Pretty neat form of public art to inspire people

Pretty neat form of public art to inspire people

According to a friend I met while heading on the subway, this space serves as performance space in the weekend.

According to a friend I met while heading on the subway, this space serves as performance space in the weekend.

Art Exhibit

Art Exhibit

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The back of the warehouse seem to have a lot of green space

The back of the warehouse seem to have a lot of green space

 

Director was an alum from my college (B.A. Architecture, 2001)

Director was an alum from my college (B.A. Architecture, 2001)

 

Before I continue photo-bombing, I must add that these spaces serve as really awesome ways to get people excited and engaged about using design to improve where they live, as well as having some form of fun, outlet, and relaxation on the weekend.

We often think of Taipei as a really ugly city, architecturally, but these sort of places brighten up people’s lives and can bring people together.

For local designers, this is a great way to get people’s names out; with this warehouse space, I can imagine seeing local designers rent out this space for local projects. In addition, these are places where people can meet up, collaborate, network, and establish long-lasting relationships.

I’m somebody who believes in the power of art/design to create, inspire imagination in a society that is very functional. Growing up, I was told that making money to pay the bills is the purpose of life; but designers/artists, their role is to provide some fun, emotion, clarity, intention, and rest from the daily grind of life. We need more fun, love in life.

Songshan Creative Park 

Songshan Creative Park

Songshan Creative Park

A former tobacco factory, the Songshan Creative Park is now a place where design exhibits, events, performances also take place. (and wow at the public space and parks!)

It’s Facebook Page has about 33,000 likes (WOW!). However, visiting the place, I felt more like a local than a tourist since many of the staff/volunteers, as well as the signage, was mostly in Chinese rather than in English.  This is also shown (as well as the Huashan Creative Park) by their websites, which are much more functional and provide much more information in Chinese than in English.

Side note: I think by judging on the amount of people here, more locals visited this park than the Huashan Creative Park.

When I passed by, the park was promoting the 100th Anniversary of Doraemon.

Map of Songshan Creative Park

However, I was here for Taipei Design Museum, which outlined everything from the history of design, to design concepts, design styles.

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2011 Taiwan Contemporary Designers

"Happy New Year" an exhibit highlighting different ways to express Chinese New Year

“Happy New Year” an exhibit highlighting different ways to express Chinese New Year

This was my favorite exhibit

This was my favorite exhibit.

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Lots of symbolism on this piece. Notice on the bottom, the table has pieces from Chinese traditional architecture (dougong) . The hot pot sends out steam, which takes the form of Chinese characters and pattern-work, as well as colors.

Chinese Traditional Packaging Design

Chinese Traditional Packaging Design for fruits/vegetables

Concept design exhibit

Concept design exhibit

What amazes me in this trip is that the City is playing an extremely active role in promoting the arts and culture as a vital part of a community’s health. Artists/designers can’t do it alone; it requires a collaborative effort between people, institutions, and artists.

Kids and Taipei Design!

Kids and Taipei Design!

Resources on Taipei / Taiwan Design 

(will update the next day)

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