“Super South” is the theme of this year’s Taiwan Design Expo, which opens tomorrow in Pingtung City and aims to be the world’s biggest “design supermarket.”
The idea of design can seem very distant from people’s lives, so the aim is to make visitors feel as though they are walking through a supermarket as they “experience the designers’ cultural and creative soft power,” Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said on Monday.
Chu Chih-kang (朱志康), who designed the main venue at Taisugar Civic Park (台糖縣民公園), said he wanted to create the kind of warehouse supermarket or hypermarket that Taiwanese have become familiar with.
Photo: Chiu Chih-jou, Taipei Times
He divided the venue into five main exhibition areas — Pingtung Thing (屏東西), Pingtung Power (屏動能), Pingtung Utopia (屏安村), Pingtung Issue (屏東製) and Pingtung Ya (屏東YA).
Pingtung Thing shows how six award-winning agricultural products from Pingtung County — lemons, pineapples, bananas, coffee, cocoa and red quinoa — were transformed into “super” products, the Pingtung County Cultural Affairs Department said.
Pingtung Power will showcase the athletic abilities and competition results of the county’s athletes, as well as sports-related products made in Taiwan, Chu said.
Pingtung Issue highlights the county’s “tourism factories” that manufacture local specialties, and will offer interactive experiences, while Pingtung YA tells the stories behind local attractions, he said.
Pingtung Utopia highlights the county’s use of social design to provide holistic healthcare and to promote the concept of “aging in place” in local communities, he added.
The items on display were curated by Joefang Studio creative director Joe Fang (方序中), while Sangyong Park Puppet Troupe director Wu Yung-hsing (吳泳興) created an art installation featuring supermarket shopping carts on a track that winds through the venue, in keeping with the event’s grocery store theme.
There is also a shop, Gala Asia at Pingtung, organized in partnership with the Taipei-based design platform Gala Asia, which features brands from across Taiwan and will be selling six limited-edition bento boxes made with locally sourced ingredients.
In addition to the Taisugar Civic Park warehouse, there are satellite venues at the Pingtung Tobacco Factory, the V.I.P Zone and so-called “design hotspots” at Pingtung Art Museum and Zhutian Xishi Dementia-Friendly Community.
More information about the expo, which runs through Oct. 20, can be found on the event’s Web site at designexpo.org.tw. Chinese and English are both available.
In related news, Pingtung Police Bureau’s Traffic Police Brigade on Thursday last week unveiled new pedestrian traffic lights at a crosswalk in Jhutian Township’s (竹田) Sishih Village (西勢) that offers a twist on the usual green man design.
When the light turns green, it shows a green child helping an elderly green man with a cane, while when the light turns red, an elderly red man with a cane stands next to a stop sign.
The symbols have also been enlarged to make it easier for elderly people to see. The new crosswalk lights are a way of incorporating design into everyday life in Pingtung, especially as the county is hosting this year’s Taiwan Design Expo, Pan said at the unveiling ceremony.
Design should help make life better and more convenient, and in the face of aging society, it wants to incorporate design into areas such as long-term care and transportation, he added.
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