I first came across organic Taiwanese beauty brand Fasun a couple of years ago. The packaging is rather cute (also, there are not that many certified organic domestic C&T brands) and the INCI list looks interesting.
When I was in Taipei last month I finally had the opportunity to check out the brand more closely. I’m particularly interested in face care so I bought two products, a foaming facial wash and an intriguing-looking face mask. Click on the link below for more information and pics on Fasun.
Although this is my third visit to Taipei I had never been to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Like several of Taipei’s arts spaces, MOCA is located in a historic, colonial-style building: it was originally a school built by the Japanese in 1912. In 1996 the Second Taipei Fine Arts Museum moved in and in 2000, the museum was renamed Museum of Contemporary Art.
MOCA is centrally located in Datong district and I was actually on my way to somewhere else when I walked past the site. The two exhibition posters for Leigh Wen and Ronald Ventura immediately caught my eye so I went in. And I am very glad I did: MOCA is a nice, compact museum which is much larger than it looks like from the outside.
Tickets are priced at a reasonable NT50 (1.50 Euro), lockers are free and there is a museum shop and a café. Not to mention some fabulous contemporary art exhibitions! Click on the link below for more pics and info.
I arrived in Taipei a few days ago and one of my first visits was to MasKingdom’s flagship in the city’s trendy Ximen area. I had written about this unique Taiwanese face mask manufacturer last November during my first visit to Taipei – you can read the post here.
[EDIT 29/04/2017: Unfortunately the store has closed down. Thanks to nn for the info!]
I did notice that MasKingdom masks are now appearing in a number of Asian online shops so it looks like the brand is doing very well. When I visited the store I was yet again struck by the beauty of MasKingdom’s Taiwanese Aboriginal mask series – probably the brand’s best-known range – and decided to buy a mask set.
One of my favourite store chains in Taiwan is bookstore retailer Eslite. Not only do they have an interesting and very appealing retail concept, but I’m also impressed by how carefully the company tailors its brand portfolio and store layout to the local neighbourhood.
The Eslite chain started out as a bookstore in 1989 with a small selection of titles from the arts and humanities. Since then it has become a majorly successful multi-channel business. In 2004 Eslite was chosen as “Asia’s Best Book Store” in Time Magazine’s Best of Asia ranking and in 2011 the company received the Top 100 Taiwanese Brand Award from the Taiwanese government.
Books and literature are still a key part of the Eslite portfolio but the company has diversified its focus to embrace the cultural and creative industries in Taiwan, too. In some of the larger Taipei Eslites you’ll find gourmet food courts and super-stylish cafés, hand-made Taiwanese art and design objects, lifestyle cosmetics, international avant-garde fashion and accessories and a very comprehensive selection of books and magazines – mostly in Chinese but the larger Eslites also carry a respectable number of English language books. Some of the outlets feature lecture halls and auditoriums and in these stores there is a varied program of concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events. And the newest Eslite in Songshan even has an arthouse movie theatre.
The Red House cultural centre is the second-oldest and the smallest of the three arts spaces. It is a group of compact and attractive red-brick buildings which is located right in the middle of bustling Ximen area.
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!
A few days ago I spent the afternoon in the Ximen area of Taipei. Ximen is a teen-oriented neighbourhood which is also called the “Harajuku of Taipei” [Harajuku is a Tokyo area famous for its teen/street fashion style]. The streets in Ximen are full of food stalls, restaurants and cosmetics retailers (including Korean chains Nature Republic, Etude House, Skin Food, Tony Moly and Face Shop, Sasa from Hong Kong and Western favourites L’Occitane and The Body Shop). There are game arcades, cinemas and fashion/accessories stores – Ximen is very loud, very colourful and very VERY crowded. On the weekends this is where large numbers of Taipei’s youngsters hang out.
I was walking aimlessly around the Ximen streets when all of a sudden I came upon MasKingdom – a store which specializes in face masks. Now, this in itself is nothing special: face masks (the foldable kind) are an integral part of the Taiwanese beauty market and the country is famous for its face masks manufacturers (the best-known brands include Sexy Look, My Beauty Diary and LoveMore). In Taiwan, face masks are a staple in every drugstore and every perfumery chain. However, MasKingdom has a different – and very cool – brand concept.
I arrived in Taipei last week. A very cool city! On my first day I was walking past the Taipei International Exhibition Centre (I was actually on my way to meet a friend for coffee!) when I saw big posters advertising the 7th Asia Organic & LOHAS Expo from 31st October to 3rd November. I had come across the term LOHAS several times in Taiwanese stores and on product packaging – obviously organic and LOHAS is a lifestyle and/or marketing trend in Taiwan just as much as in other Western and Asian countries. I decided that I simply had to visit the Organic & LOHAS Expo – and it turned out to be a compact and interesting little show.