Taipei's bid for 2016 World Design Capital

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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The Red House in Xiemen


The reason why I want to emphasise Taipei's bid to become the next World Design Capital ( after Cape Town in 2014) is because their effort can be seen and felt while I was in Taipei. They even dedicated a website for this, so they are quite determined to make this happen. And from what I have seen, I think they rightly deserve the title.

Taipei is one of my favourite Asian cities and it is often overlooked by travelers from the West because it is less exotic than Bangkok, not as 'cool' as Tokyo nor as cosmopolitan as Hong Kong. Yet Taipei is a city full of hidden gems, it is culturally rich, eco and heritage conscious, but best of all is that the people there are generally warm, welcoming, polite ( mostly well-educated) and humble.


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Top and main: Songshan Cultural and Creative Park; bottom: Huashan creative park


In recent years, several heritage buildings and sites in Taipei have been restored and converted into creative parks. One of them is Huashan 1914 creative park, a 7.2-hectare former winery built in 1914. Now art or photography exhibitions and concerts are regularly being held here, but there are also shops, cinema and restaurants on the site. Another similar site is the 6.6-hectares Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a former tobacco plant built in 1937. This park is home to the Taiwan design museum and design center, however, it is a a rather confusing site with many warehouses and not enough clear directions. It is especially easy to get lost in the maze-like factory building.


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Inside The Red House


Another interesting building is the The Red House originally built in 1908 in the Xiemen district. This historical octagon building has been transformed into a cultural hub with a theatre, exhibition area, shops selling local designs, tea house as well as outdoor cafe and handicrafts market.


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Treasure hill artists village


Treasure hill was home to many former veterans since the 1940s, now the shantytown-like area has been transformed into an artist village called Treasure Hill artist village. The village reopened in 2010, although not many of the original families moved back to the village, it is still interesting to see the local and art community living or working side by side. Not all studios and exhibition space are open at all times, however, it is worth visiting the area because of its unique atmosphere and history.


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Seed project IV - A mobile museum near Taipei 101


The concept of the Seed project is quite unusual, it aims to integrate art, culture, architecture and community together and has "popped up" annually in different parts of the city since 2009. The 4th seed project is a mobile museum that hosts temporary exhibitions on art, architecture and life. The current exhibition is "Breathing architecture" ( until 10th May), featuring work by WOHA, a Singaporean architectural firm with strong emphasis on nature in order to create a greener and healthier living environment.



Efforts that aims to make the city greener and livable for all


The Taipei city government should be commended for their efforts to transform the city's urban landscape. Walking around the city, I often noticed abandoned or concrete space between buildings that have been turned into small community gardens with plants and seating. I love this idea and I think all cities should do the same to make the city greener and more livable.




Honestly, I am not sure how these World design capitals are selected, but I think it is about time that Taipei and Taiwanese designs are being recognised by the international world!

Good luck Taipei!


This post was posted in Architecture, Travel, Taiwanese design, Taipei, Design and was tagged with architecture, Taiwanese design, Taipei, Taiwan