“Design M/m Taiwan,” an exhibition featuring selected Golden Pin Design Award winning projects and brands was officially opened today, July 10, by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The show occupies two rooms on the first floor of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei and focuses on the big impact that small design objects can make in the world. It will open to the public on July 13, 2017, and close in December.
Curated by Frankie Fan, Director of experimental local design studio XXtralab, the exhibition is organized by the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, with the Taiwan Design Center as the executive organizer. Both institutions are also responsible for the administration of the Golden Pin Design Award. This afternoon’s opening event was attended by President Tsai Ing-wen, Minister Chih-Kung Lee, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Exhibition Curator Frankie Fan, Director, XXtralab Design, and exhibition participants Tony K. M. Chang (Yii), Justin Chou (Just In Case), Hsin-Ya Huang (WOO Collective), and Mei Kuo-Ching (THAT!).
“From the works on show in this exhibition, we can see that design is changing our society. We hope that by providing a place for this exhibition, people will better understand the value of design. The [Taiwanese] government will continue to support the cultivation of design talent. Let design enhance our quality of life; let design promote economic transformation; let design become Taiwan’s national strength,” said Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the exhibition opening this afternoon.
“Design M/m Taiwan” features the stories behind six Taiwanese brands, including the Golden Pin Best Design trophy recipient Yii and Golden Pin Design Mark recipient, Woo Collective. Leading Taiwanese industrial designer Hsieh Jung-ya, who is a past jury member of the Golden Pin Design Award, exhibits his designs under the THAT! brand. The work of celebrated Taiwanese designers Justin Chou, Yu Ming-yang, and Sha Yao is also on show.
Yii’s “43” armless chair was designed by Konstantin Grcic in collaboration with Taiwanese bamboo master Gaoming Chen (陳高明). Entirely handmade, the chair has traveled from humble beginnings in Taiwan’s Nantou County to the European market where it retails for €5000 (just under NT$200,000). “43” took home a Best Design trophy in the 2015 edition of the Golden Pin Design Award. WOO Collective, also a 2015 Golden Pin Design Award winning brand, is a young company celebrated for their extensive work revitalizing Taiwan’s centuries-old tinsmithing practices. Their tableware collections, ranging from cups and plates to purifying drinking utensils, feature patterns and colorations created by pressing and smoking.
Fashion designer Justin Chou combines contemporary Taiwanese cultural symbols with Western design techniques for his label, Just in Case. Through his collections, which have been seen on catwalks in New York and Europe, Chou is able to provide global audiences with a rare glimpse into the more obscure aspects of Taiwanese life. Hsieh Jung-ya, founder and lead designer of THAT! Inventions Co., has taken home over one hundred international design awards for his work. Products released by THAT! are typically innovations on everyday kitchen utensils; the brand’s designers strive to invent simple solutions for daily problems. THAT! was represented at the today’s exhibition opening by Mei Kuo-Ching, Chairman of THAT! Invention Co.
Yu Ming-yang is the young CEO of mobile game development company Rayark Inc. Despite being designed for small screens, Rayark’s games have proven to be hugely popular–the studio’s products now boast more then 60 million players across the globe. Inspired by the deteriorating condition of her elderly grandmother, designer Sha Yao created a tableware set that helps patients with dementia and other debilitating diseases affecting today’s senior citizens to eat independently.
Curator Frankie Fan was initially inspired by a phrase Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, Presidente de la República del Paraguay, said to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on her visit to the country last year: “Tus país era más de lo que piensas,” which can be translated in English as, “Your country is bigger than you think.” Fan and his team at XXtralab, who have previously worked with eponymous Taiwanese institutions like the National Palace Museum and Taipei City Hall, used the letter ‘m’, which stands in for the words ‘minimize’ and ‘Maximize,’ to represent the power design has to place a country on the world stage. “The purpose of this exhibition wasn’t to choose the very best Taiwanese designers. Rather, it is to show the story behind the product or project, and to demonstrate how small things can have a big influence,” says Fan.
“Design M/m Taiwan” will open to the public from July 13, 2017, at the Presidential Office Building, 1st Floor, Rooms 9 and 10. It will close on a yet undetermined date in December. Parties of less than 15 people can enter during weekdays or weekends via the 3rd gate entrance. Parties larger than 15 people must first register online. For more information on visiting the Presidential Office Building, visit: http://english.president.gov.tw/Page/124.