Many exhibitions have been held in the name of design over the years, and design and curation have become prominent subjects. However, by planning an exhibition in the theme of design inside the Presidential Office Building, Design M/m Taiwan provides a fresh exhibition experience to design fans. Design M/m Taiwan features six brand stories and explores them using design in search of the fundamental happiness in Taiwan, savoring local stories interpreted by contemporary Taiwanese designers in this soon-to-be century-old historical building.
The exhibition is located in Exhibition Rooms 9 and 10 of the Presidential Office Building. In the past few years, the field of design curation has started to focus on how to make use of space to interpret and elaborate a thorough discussion of curation. Design M/m Taiwan uses a long corridor between the two exhibition areas and connects them together. Each represents interpretations of different generations. One of them is an era starting from the outside and going inward, struggling to free itself from the baggage of subcontract thinking. The other one is an era of the young and new generation searching inward and yearning to voice outward. Using slides as a medium of connection and communication and piling them on top of each other to create the visual effect of ink wash rendering brings about the interactive relationship between the viewers and those who are viewed. This is the ingenuity of curator Frankie Fan’s nod to the aesthetics of the Virtual Generation.
“’Little humans, big thinkers.’ When intangible design competence overturns the previously-defined ‘big’ and ‘small’, it echoes the essence of this generation, that is, the happiness achieved by design. The letter M can represent both ‘minimized’ and ‘Maximized’,” Fan explains about the core concept that he wishes to convey to the general public through the curation philosophy of Design M/m Taiwan. He hopes to propel the reversal of design concepts and determine the changes of tomorrow from today’s point of view.
The works that are exhibited approach their subjects from cultural, economic, and social perspectives, including fashion crafts brand Yii, the WOO Collective that brought the nearly-lost Taiwan tin crafts back to day-to-day product design, designer Justin Chou of the brand Just In Case that created quite a stir at the New York Fashion Week and surprised the western fashion world, Jung-Ya Hsieh who led the GIXIA Group beyond traditional design and manufacturing routines, Ming-Yang Yu who uses mobile games to create new cultural intellectual property for Taiwan, and the assistive tableware designer Sha Yao who brings sociology into the realm of design.
Fan said that the factors behind the six brand stories are all human-centered goodwill starting points. It provokes discussion ranging from the hypothetical to the practical, revealing social networks and relations to establish, and develop the trends and visions of Taiwan’s new design philosophy.
There isn’t a shortage of politicized discussions about moving the design exhibition into the Presidential Office Building. However, just like the response that Justin Chou gave when asked about the public criticism of high-end fashion design, he thinks that all works are being criticized regardless of media or the general public. Before anyone makes any conclusion, Chou hopes that they can first understand the background, philosophy, and the topic of discussion of the work. “Everyone has personal preferences, myself included, but I don’t criticize, because I know there is hard work behind every output,” He says. As for all the criticism, the evolution of time will do justice to the work.
Words｜Show D. Liu
Photos｜Pu Chen, Andy Chang