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2023 Meet Taipei: Design—Journey Through the Past and Future of Zhongxiao Shopping District (忠孝商圈)

2023 Meet Taipei: Design—Journey Through the Past and Future of Zhongxiao Shopping District (忠孝商圈)

Since its inception, the Meet Taipei: Design event, organized by the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs has been exploring Taipei and leaving behind significant imprints in the city. It has guided the people of Taipei as they examine various urban issues and use design thinking and perspectives to craft humanistic creative solutions. This year, the spotlight is on Taipei’s Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District, an area brimming with creativity, vitality, and historical significance. With this unique design celebration, titled “East District, Straight Ahead” (東區,直直走), it reflects on local life stories, connecting the past, present, and future.

Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路) in the Intersection of History and Trends

This year, under the theme “East District, Straight Ahead,” the spotlight is on the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District. In the past, this area was characterized by irrigation canals and rice fields, with few tall buildings. It wasn’t until 1970 that it gradually began to develop into one of Taipei’s commercial centers. 

The area bore witness to several firsts, including the inauguration of the first Wellcome market and Taiwan’s inaugural 24-hour bookstore. It also served as a hub for avant-garde ideas and artistic expression. Prominent figures in the Taiwanese art scene, such as Sui-liong Gan (顏水龍) and Wu-yung Hsu (許武勇), held exhibitions here, infusing the East District with an artistic ambiance. Rich historical memories and a diverse array of cultural elements converge in this area.

Today, the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District (忠孝東路商圈) that we know has continued to evolve and over time has transformed in various ways. 

“East District, Straight Ahead” is a design celebration that explores the history and culture of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District. It combines design, culture, and history, allowing us to rediscover and understand the district. It rekindles emotional memories with the place, sensing its heartbeat and creating a scene of urban prosperity and harmony.

Encounter New Memories of Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路)

Six designers and artists from various fields have been invited to work with the central theme of “Encountering New Memories in the East District” (遇見新東區記憶). The participants have used a variety of design techniques, such as pattern printing (印花紋飾), advertising posters, paper-cutting imagery, illustrations, collage artwork, and 3D scenes, each showcasing their unique talents to unleash the creative energy of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District.

“A Guide to Decorative Grilles in East District Buildings” (東區建築窗格圖鑑) transforms modern-looking buildings into printed totems, narrating the intricate design influences of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District. 

“Stories from the East District in Advertisements” (廣告裡的東區故事) takes classic landmarks, trendy shops, and consumer memories from Zhongxiao East Road and transforms them into over-the-top, flamboyant billboards that present captivating moments from the East District’s evolution. 

“Parallel Time and Space in the East Metro Mall” (地下街的平行時空) uses super-wide illustrations to delve into the underground mall at Zhongxiao East Road, depicting the unique atmosphere created by the East Metro Mall, surface roads, and metro system. 

“East District Montage” (東區蒙太奇) interweaves old and new memories of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District through collages of images taken from various perspectives, including fashion, people, and street scenes. 

“Crossing the Road with Hip-Hop” (過馬路也是很嘻哈的事) brings the energy of street dance hidden in the alleys of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District into paper-cutting design to foster an attitude for crossing the road using pedestrian islands. 

“What I’m Riding’s Not a YouBike, but a Dream!” (我騎的不是YouBike,是夢想!) uses humorous slogans and scenes to delivers a dose of humor and motivation for commuters navigating the bustling commercial district. It rekindles memories across time and space.

Create Your East District

Two workshops for public participation have also been also scheduled, with the goal of engaging the public in discussions about urban transformation, active participation in design, and understanding the influence of aesthetics on urban change. In addition, four design promotion events are aimed at deepening public understanding of history and revealing the stories and culture embedded within.

The “East District, Straight Ahead” event takes place along Zhongxiao East Road Section 4, from Exit 2 of Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall metro station to Liugong Park (瑠公公園), from October 4 to November 19, 2023. Everyone is welcome. Come and explore the diverse facets and cultural charm of the Zhongxiao East Road Shopping District through carefully designed art installations.

Meet Taipei: Design

Exhibition Duration: Wednesday, October 4– Sunday, November 19 

Location: Along Section 4 of Zhongxiao East Road, from Exit 2 of Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall metro station to Liugong Park.