Wed, May 14, 2008 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan's design schools, students look to the future

Young and aspiring designers from Taiwan and around the world are getting ready to show their work at YODEX 2008

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shih Chien University student Spike Wang's futuristic dress


A matching jewelry set for pet and owner, a sofa-seat built into a suitcase, a Renaissance-inspired bikini — these are just a few of the many creations by Taiwanese design students on display tomorrow at the 2008 Young Designers’ Exhibition (YODEX), which runs until May 18 at the Taipei World Trade Center.

“It’s the only event that design schools [in Taiwan] look forward to every year,” says Kristy Cha Ray Chu (曲家瑞), director of Shih Chien University’s (實踐大學) Institute of Fashion and Communications Design.

Now in its 27th year, YODEX is one of the world’s largest exhibition fairs for design students and new graduates. It continues to grow: the fair attracted 80,000 visitors last year, and this year organizers are expecting that number to rise to 100,000.

Chu says many visitors to the exhibition are high school students, making YODEX a prime recruiting ground for design schools. Several dozen Taiwanese design schools and universities will have a presence at YODEX this year running booths and exhibitions.

The global presence at the event has grown in recent years, according to Steffy Sun (孫善蓉) of the Taiwan Design Center (台灣創意設計中心), which organizes YODEX. Twenty schools from Australia, the UK, the US and Italy will be represented at this year’s exhibition.

YODEX’s growth reflects a changing demographic: more Taiwanese students want to study design, according to Chu. Design colleges and universities are seeing more applicants from Taiwan’s top high schools, she says, resulting in better work. Chu notes that 10 years ago, students tended to stick to the “technical” aspects of design, but today they are “more creative” and “more brave” in their work.

Exhibition notes

What: 2008 Young Designers' Exhibition (新一代設計展)

Where: Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall, First Floor (世界貿易中心展覽大樓一樓) at 5, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段5號)

When: Tomorrow until May 18, from 9am to 5pm

Details: Admission is NT$200 for adults, NT$150 for students

On the Net:

The following are a few of the works on display at YODEX this year, which range from the practical to the extravagant:

Lee Heng’s (李恆) “pet charms” is a set of matching jewelry collars for pets and their owners. The loose-fitting collars extend into the shape of a heart and are made of a rose-gold copper alloy. The heart shape is adorned with intricate patterns cut using techniques derived from Chinese paper cutting, while the collar is enameled with gold. Lee, a senior at the National Hsinchu University of Education (新竹教育大學) and self-proclaimed pet-lover, says he wanted to make something that would be “the topic of conversation.”

Another highly ornamented design is found in Huang Pin-shiuan’s (黃品璇) The Poolside Pavane, a bikini inspired by the clothes worn by European aristocracy when dancing the pavane, a processional dance performed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Huang, a student at Fu Jen Catholic University (輔仁大學), wrote in a statement that her design was inspired by the era’s sense of “nobility” and “boldness of expression” of one’s wealth.

And for weary travelers, there’s luggage that doubles as a seat. The aptly-named BAGGAGE TAKE A SEAT! by Winnie Cheng (鄭羽珊), an industrial design student at Huafan University (華梵大學), is a suitcase with a built-in sofa cushion. Fashion-conscious users can use removable plates to change the suitcase’s color.

YODEX 2008 launches with an opening ceremony tomorrow at 10:30am. The festivities include a performance by Taiwanese indie-rock band Tizzy Bac. During the exhibition, YODEX is also holding its Young Designers’ Competition for the fields of packaging design, industrial design, visual communication, multimedia and handicrafts. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 17 at 2pm. There will also be a series of discussion forums and lectures throughout the exhibition (held in Mandarin Chinese only). Check YODEX’s Web site for details.

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