There aren’t many hurdles left in Taipei’s race for World Design Capital of 2016 — the city is in the final evaluation stage. It’s also the only contender.
But the city government seems to be leaving nothing to chance. Ahead of a two-day evaluation, the Taipei City Government is launching the Taipei Design & City Exhibition (台北設計城市展) on Sunday. A correlated exhibition, the annual Taiwan Design Expo (2013台灣設計展), starts the same day at the same venue, featuring the latest international award-winning products made in Taiwan and a collection of designs curated from across the globe.
“These are exhibitions that would be held anyway, but the timing does have the upcoming [evaluation] visit in mind,” said publicist Iris Tseng (曾思宇).
Now in its second year, the Taipei Design & City Exhibition is two galleries of industrial designs, urban planning strategies and public service programs meant to address problems like crowding and urban pollution. Most designs are only conceptual, but one gallery showcases what’s already in mass distribution, like EasyCard, YouBike, the Big Issue Taiwan project and the Keep Trash Off the Ground (垃圾不落地) program. One panel is about how iBon and other designs have converted Taipei’s convenience stores into full-fledged community centers that offer dining, afternoon tea and even a limited dry-cleaning service.
Other urban designs are lesser known, like the Motorbike Taxi Service — which offers cheap rides and grocery delivery in Beitou District — and the OurCityLove Friendly Restaurants Taipei mobile app, which helps disabled persons and their families locate an easily accessible restaurant. There’s Flying V, a crowd-funding platform that’s been called Taiwan’s version of Kickstarter.
The city design exhibition also includes a series of forums and a group show for 12 Taipei-based artists including Juby Chiu (邱娉勻) and Chang Hsiun-ming (張修明), who works primarily with furniture.
Tseng said officials from the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design arrive this month for a two-day onsite evaluation, the final stage of Taipei City’s application.