China Post: “‘Meet Taipei: Design’ rejuvenates our city scape”
City signage, billboards and company logos make up an important part of cityscapes. In preparation for the World Design Capital Taipei 2016 (WDC, 臺北世界設計之都), the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs has invited local designers to join the “Meet Taipei: Design” (臺北街角遇見設計) project to help rejuvenate Taipei’s appearance.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, it also aims to change the way how details are often given little attention to and to encourage residents in taking a look at the streets, alleys and buildings with appreciation for their beauty.
Hosted with support from small signboard manufacturers, small, family-run businesses are paired with designers to create signboards that highlight each shops’ unique character. Running since 2013, this year the project focuses on the renovation of signboards for traditional market stalls in Taipei. By the end of this year, it hopes to complete its 100th signboard. Designers Feng Yu (馮宇), Lin Wei Da (林韋達) and Aaron Nieh (聶永真) participated in redesigning signboards for the Dazhi Market. Feng Yu expresses hopes of creating lasting impressions on children, allowing traditions to transcend generations.– Angela Chu Wednesday, May 4, 2016 The China Post
More info: What’s in a sign? Bringing modern design to traditional shops in World Design Capital Taipei
‘Meet Taipei: Design’ rejuvenates our city scape
Design key to 21st century: Hsieh
Through the two themes of “Adaptive City” and “Design in Motion,” Taipei City is looking to build a more livable city, and beyond leaving a design legacy that will last long after 2016. The international event could further act as a catalyst for the city’s existing industrial system, leading to the creation of more investment opportunities and job openings in the design sector.
True to this ambition, Commissioner Pei-ni Beatrice Hsieh of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City, recently sat with The China Post’s senior editor, Dimitri Bruyas, to discuss the World Design Capital Taipei event and the capital city’s ability to continuously reinvent itself into a mélange of both urban and rural life over the past 50 years. Contrary to many capital cities around the world, you can easily step out of lush, green mountains into the bustling life of Taipei, whereas the city is a world leader in creative design and innovation, and a cultural hubbub for the arts. Here is an edited transcript of their conversation.
What is the significance of Taipei designation as this year’s World Design Capital?
I believe that there are a few reasons why Taipei successfully won the title of the World Design Capital. The previous WDCs — Torino, Seoul, Helsinki and Cape Town — were all undergoing transformations when they applied.
They were trying to express themselves and trying to find alternative solutions through design. Instead of boosting public interest in design through the WDC, however, they aimed at boosting their own confidence, letting them demonstrate that they are a turning point that calls for change. What is the significance of design in the 21st century? Originally, objects were designed according to their function. As long as we stick to this definition, we didn’t need to do anything as we had accumulated so many years of experience on how to create objects. Nowadays, design not only departs from an object’s appearance and function, but also expands beyond the “real world,” like in virtual reality and with social networks. This means that the “unseen” is equally important in order to bring forth closer interactions between people.
Through such interactions, there are even more opportunities lying ahead than before. In other words, design brings expectations, connects the past with the future and challenges reality.
Is Taipei ‘design friendly’?
A friendly city should be friendly to everyone, and not just friendly toward me for the sake of being friendly. The real question is: How do you experience ‘friendly design’ throughout the city? To this extent, we need to give design a sense of existing, and then, create the possibility of a first encounter through our urban design projects. For instance, the New Color for Transformer Boxes project, which is part of the wider Urban Landscape Planning project, makes Taipei’s electrical transformer boxes, cycling paths, and public squares more aesthetically and environmentally appealing. With the support of Taipei Power Company, to date 62 pairs of transformer boxes along five major roads have been earmarked for a revamp. The public is encouraged to help select final color schemes via Facebook. In another project, we help connect small, family-run businesses with designers to upgrade small shops’ signboards. Designers consult with business owners to create signboards that highlight their shops’ unique character.
What are your expectations for WDC?
First of all, as Taipei has many communities, I wish all these communities can be friendlier, better, more efficient. We can start the changes one by one. Don’t mistake them as experiments. I do not want others to regard them as experiments. They are not experiments, but projects that we can join in to make a change. Communities can be a new binding, a new element. This is the first goal I want to realize. I want to overcome our differences. Secondly, I am wondering whether design can help fill the gap between private sector and public agency. Take those store signs for example, we all know people hate those signs, but how can we make it look better? Design is our solution. Design helps us tackle those stands. And the third is humanity. Design should be combined with humanistic concern.
–Dimitri Bruyas Senior editor of The China Post
Commissioner Beatrice Hsieh, second left, Dazhi Market Council Chairman Huang Hsiang-Chin, third left, and designers Lin Wei Da, center, and Aaron Nieh, third right, unveil the new signboards in Dazhi Market.
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