Imperfections Aspire Perfection: Taipei in Progress
— JL Design founder Luo Shenjun v.s. WDC CEO Wu Han-Zhong
Luo Shenjun, founder of JL Design, served as the visual coordinator for the 2014 25th Golden Melody Awards award ceremony, in which he blended a fusion of Taiwan imagery and international stylism to present a visual feast equal to the Oscars and the Grammy Awards. Proving to the world the design power of Taiwan.
Luo Shenjun, as a designer, was brought up and nurtured by Taiwan nutrients, and of course, playing a leading role in this full-scale visual drama that is the WDC, Luo Shenjun has put all his ingenuity into presenting a full-scale design drama before Taipei residents Incorporating design in communities enables social change: Presenting a full-scale design drama before Taipei residents
The motive proposed for social design: “Incorporating design in communities enables social change,” struck a chord with intermediary WDC CEO Wu Han-Zhong.
Luo Shenjun repeatedly turned over in his mind the question: What is the meaning of Taipei being a WDC? If a city can affect policy using design and become a design capital, then how can we visually communicate this in a clear way? Hence, the main visual is not just a beautiful and breathtaking representation appearing vividly on paper but the beginnings of an act of birth. “From one aspect, its significance extends to how each person can participate, that is, intimately involving the general public;” this being the underlying meaning of design. WDC is the beginning not the end, with Taipei as the starting point. Through needed ploughing and weeding, the city has advanced forward step by step to become a Design Capital.
Amid continuous brainstorming and deliberation, the two discussed: “World Design Capital is not just a title but a programme on how to establish a series of connections from it? Every deliberation and each step are for the purpose to allow the general public understand the significance of WDC in Taipei.
An imperfect circle: Witness the process as Taipei aspires toward perfection from imperfection
Using a geometric circle as the main visual perception, the process as Taipei aspires toward perfection from imperfection is symbolized using points, a line, and a surface.
Points symbolize participation of the general public whereby the power of cohesion comes from connecting the points. A line symbolizes information linking and mutual networking. A surface symbolizes city regeneration whereby the shape of a city is restructured. Such a design schema is consistent with contemporary design concepts－linking together professionals and non-professionals, and persons from design and non-design disciplines, connecting people with people, and people with design. Such presentations deeply impressed Wu Han-Zhong.
“From points, a line, and a surface, to the motion of the city－specific and true-to-life. Bull’s eye!” Wu Han-Zhong further expressed that the elements, colours, and concepts used by Luo Shenjun not only spell out a new vocabulary of the age; moreover, behind the circle there are even more circles, dynamically revealing the connotations of human culture and society.
Luo ShenJun expressed that “Taipei is an imperfect circle in the process of aspiring to be a perfect circle－still in progress.” He expects Taipei to eventually form a perfect circle through participation, cohesion, linking, and regeneration.
Echoing WDC Taipei’s vision of an “Adaptive City,” Luo Shenjun further
incorporated the fascination of Chinese traditional characters into his design. The one sentence slogan “Design in Taipei, Taipei in design” can clearly be read from left to right or from right to left, demonstrating the intrigue of Chinese characters. Luo ShenJun believes “Chinese design must include a large quantity of Chinese characters, and not just to use English.” The “Jin Xuan” font used for the slogan was designed by a local Taiwanese team, and the details highlight the design power of Taiwan.
Wu Han-Zhong explained that the foundation laid down by the older generation of artists, such as Lin Huai-Min, and Dong Yang-Zi, has become the design basis for Taipei. In recent years, young designers have actively participated in public issues, making Taiwan a better place through design. Luo Shenjun has seen good designers becoming involved in the campaign, with examples including: designing information packages (… for dummies), actively devoting themselves to social public issues, and creating designs for the Taipei Lantern Festival that sparked community discussion. Showing that the general public already attaches great importance to design.
Wave after wave of designers are participating in the campaign to design the future Taipei－still in progress.
“Taipei is a city amidst design, but needs to reestablish itself in design.” With this in mind, Luo Shenjun hopes to endow the existing cultural districts of Taipei with new possibilities. We have to knock down and rebuild while preserving cultural roots. By carrying Taipei Taipei can then carry the direction of Taiwan.
Original equipment manufacturing (OEM) created Taiwan’s economic miracle, and following its progressive change over time, design has also gone from enabling the public “to understand design” to entering the transition: how design can influence society, public issues, and commercial brands, all of which are aspects that designers from different disciplines now take into consideration. Luo Shenjun is highly optimistic about this generation of designers, and expects design to produce changes in industries.
Likewise, Wu Han-Zhong has found that in many inconspicuous places in Taiwan there exists designers shining in the dark, highlighting a contrast similar to the starlight dots of energy emanating from fireflies that converge on islands and islets. He expressed that Taiwan is crossing a checkpoint, and the next step is how to move on from OEM using design to transform its cities!
A kind of capacity and expectation is held in reserve behind an imperfect circle. When the general public harbour misgivings about the progress of Taipei design, you have a feeling of not being good enough, but Luo Shenjun proudly exclaimed: Taiwan design can be better. Taipei design can provide the power to move forward.
An island nation with a population of just 23 million people nurtures international industries and artists. With such a rich cultural background, Luo Shenjun encourages everyone to believe and do something rather than complain. “Perfect value is in the process of pursuing perfection.”Taipei is Taiwan’s first WDC city, and has implanted design into policies, urban regeneration, and information linking. Luo Shenjun distilled the essence of Taipei’s power into the concept of an imperfect circle. The gaps present in the imperfect circle are waiting for each individual to do something about them. The gaps can be filled bit by bit through participation and cohesion, together moving towards perfection.