Songshan Cultural & Creative Park is the most recent and also the biggest of Taipei’s creative locations. Like the Red House and Huashan 1914, the Songshan complex used to be an old industrial site. Built in 1937 as a tobacco factory, Songshan extends over some 6.6 hectares of space. The factory buildings alone include five warehouses, various office buildings and manufacturing halls, an inspection room and a boiler room.
In 2001 the factory complex was designated an important historic location and Taipei’s city government began to develop the site as a creative and cultural design centre. And in 2012, Songshan Cultural & Creative Park was opened with the mission to kindle creativity and innovation, with a particular focus on cross-industry creative projects.
This city has a very cool art and design scene! I knew next to nothing about Taipei (or Taiwan, for that matter) before I visited here, but the creative vein that runs through much of the urban lifestyle is very visible. In many stores you’ll find products and brands that emphasize Taiwanese design and manufacture and there is a strong reflection on the cultural and ethnic heritage of the island.
At the moment, for example, the city is hosting Pulima Art Festival 2014 which celebrates the cultural and musical diversity of Taiwan’s many Aboriginal tribes. I came across this festival when I was visiting Huashan 1914, the oldest of Taipei’s three major cultural & creative locations.
And this is really what the article is all about: a closer look at Taipei’s creative and design scene focusing on Huashan 1914, the Red House and Songshan Cultural & Creative Park. All three locations are former industrial sites which were transformed into lively (and very stylish!) cultural/art centres. I have split the article into three individual posts to improve readability. The first installment: Huashan 1914!
Although I spent a lot of time in retail-oriented places, my stay in Tokyo wasn’t just about shopping and cosmetics! A few days before I flew to Taipei, I visited Tokyo Designers Week, an international design festival which started out in Tokyo in 1985 as a trade show for interior and product design. Over the years the event has expanded to take in fashion, music, anime, films, digital art….you name it, TDW has it.
Tokyo Designers Week in 2014 was bigger than ever. The event covered four central themes – design, art, fashion and music – and brought together an inspiring and very diverse range of art and design from all over the world. The structure of TDW was rather complex, with a dozen separate exhibition spaces, an arts and craft market and an extensive schedule of workshops, talks, events and performances. And there were so many innovative, imaginative, weird, spectacular and just plain beautiful artworks, exhibits and installations that my head was still buzzing the next day!
It is Berlin Art Week again! From 16th September to 21th September the city is dominated by, well, art. There are exhibitions, performance, screenings, gallery walks and conferences at different venues in Berin – and this weekend, in Kaufhaus Jandorf in Berlin’s Mitte district, was the Positions Berlin art fair. Continue reading
And again Berlin’s Tempelhof airport hosted a very cool exhibition. The DMY International Design Festival 2014 presented an fantastic range of inventions, creative ideas and product concepts. The old airport space is a very effective frame for this type of event – huge industrial halls and lots of soaring space. The opening night of the DMY Festival, Wednesday 28th May 2014, was packed: food and drinks stalls, DJs, crowds of people everywhere; a great party atmosphere. And amazing design wherever you looked.
Tomorrow, 3rd April 2014, a spectacular new exhibition opens at Gropius-Bau museum: “Ai Weiwei – Evidence”. Ai Weiwei is arguably the most famous Chinese contemporary artist of the last decade – or rather, he is famous in the US and Europe. In his home country Ai Weiwei’s work has never been officially exhibited and the dissident artist is under constant surveillance by the government. In 2011 he was placed under house arrest and incarcerated. Continue reading
Here is my October article for Mintel: A reflection of beauty – a report about the exhibition “Bin ich schön?”/”Am I beautiful?” which was shown at Museum für Kommunikation here in Berlin. The exhibition just closed, as a matter of fact, but the next show is already waiting in the wings: Out of Control? Life in a World of Mass Surveillance will open on 21st March.
Urban development and city planning is a fascinating topic, in particular the temporary use of industrial wasteland and empty urban spaces. Berlin is a good place to be if you like this sort of thing – there are plenty of creatives/communities/artists/galleries based in abandoned houses, old factories or other unusual places. And Berlin still has a surprising number of urban spaces left although over the last years, many areas have been redeveloped or are currently under construction.
In Zürich the case is quite similar. Although this is a city of tremendously high property prices, especially in the city centre, there are little pockets of creative communities that use whatever urban spaces are currently unoccupied. Like Basislager, an art collective based in containers, or the non-commercial communal area of Stadionbrache Hardturm, both of which are located in the Zürich suburb of Altstetten. Continue reading
Filed under Travel, Trends
I just came back from a few days in Zürich, Switzerland. It’s a very pretty, historical city in a rich country, a European financial capital and one of the most expensive urban areas in the world; with a high density of rich individuals and minimal unemployment. The city centre is packed with luxury stores, property prices are unbelievable high and consumer goods, food and cosmetics are expensive. But there are some cool museums and galleries. Continue reading
Yesterday I went to see the new solo exhibition in Künstlerhaus Bethanien‘s Kottbusser Strasse showroom: Maki Na Kamura, the winner of this year’s Falkenrot Preis award. Different landscapes and cityscapes all folded together onto a single canvas, that was my impression of her paintings – full of details and yet open to interpretation; interesting and complex. Go and see it!
This Friday, 22nd November, Whiteconcepts gallery in Auguststrasse will open a new group exhibition: “Art With Money”. I’ve never been to Whiteconcepts so this is a good opportunity to finally visit the gallery. Also, Spanish artist duo PSJM (I interviewed them for globe-M last year) will be exhibiting there. The vernissage begins at 7pm.