The ninth annual Taipei Toy Festival (台北國際玩具創作大展) kicks off today at Huashan 1914 (華山1914). The event, which features more than 200 designers, runs through Sunday.
The show was originally designed to showcase an international array of designers, but the number of Taiwanese studios represented has steadily increased over the last few years. Half of the designers participating this year are from this country.
“At the beginning we had an international focus, but more Taiwanese toy designers are emerging,” says festival organizer Rita Shen (沈詩華). “We want to support Taiwanese designers, whether they are working individually or as part of a studio.”
Other countries represented include Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, France, Spain, Belgium and China.
Organizer Jen Huang (黃仁壽), director of toy distributor Monster Taipei (台北怪獸國際有限公司), started the festival in 2004. The event is now the largest convention in Asia dedicated to art toys (also known as designer toys or urban vinyl). It provides a platform for emerging designers to find distributors—and for toy fans to get their fix of limited edition figures, some of which will be sold exclusively at the Taipei Toy Festival.
The theme of this year’s festival is “designer toy wars” and the artwork for the event features two popular characters—Kennyswork’s Molly and Devilrobot’s Devid—engaged in a fight reminiscent of classic Japanese monster films. The theme captures the spirit of the festival: good-natured, friendly competition.
“They are good friends, but they are also like children,” says Shen of the two characters. “And children love to play-fight with their toys.”
This year’s festival will fill two buildings at Huashan 1914. One hall is dedicated to Hong Kong and Taiwanese designers, including the work of artist Po-wen (博文) whose lushly detailed fantasy illustrations have been translated into three-dimensional figures by sculptor PKKING. One goal of this year’s show is to highlight Taiwanese animators and comic artists, whose work is often overshadowed by Japanese imports. C.i.Boys, a line of toys which enjoys a devoted following of passionate collectors, will also have its own display space filled with a total of 1,000 figures, including limited edition and one-off designs. Some of the bigger brands include Kennyswork, Devilrobots and StayReal. As with previous festivals, limited edition toys created for the event will be available for the first 500 attendees each day.
What: Taipei Toy Festival (台北國際玩具創作大展)
When: Today through Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm
Where: Warehouse East 2 A and B of Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號), tel: (02) 2358-1914
On the Net: www.huashan1914.com, www.taipei-toyfestival.com
Admission: Tickets are NT$180 each or NT$300 for two people
Autograph sessions will feature team members from Devilrobots, Japanese designer Hiroshi Watanabe and Kenny Wong (王信明) of Kennyswork this afternoon. All of those designers will be available for signings again on Saturday, along with Po-wen. Sunday’s roster includes a live show and autograph session with 108 from Baaro Records.