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Department of Cultural Affairs

Feature Story

Design galvanizes Taipei’s MRT Stations

1.A group photo of DCA Commissioner Beatrice Pei-ni Hsieh, left 3 (front), with designers participating in the Design Station project.

Commuters on Taipei’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) may discover some of the stations they visit daily have received a facelift. To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Taipei MRT, and in conjunction with the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC) Taipei, the municipal Department of Cultural Affairs commissioned 15 designers to give several MRT stations a makeover. Brilliant ideas and vivid imaginations have transformed the transportation hubs into entirely new landscapes in Taiwan’s capital city.

Design marches into MRT Stations

At the July 18 press conference, DOCA Commissioner Beatrice Pei-ni Hsieh said the project had exceeded expectations with the redesign of MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station. The revamp includes carriers, station interiors, and even restrooms. DzDesign is not just for some, but for all,dz said Hsieh, who hopes the embellishments will sow the seeds of design in the minds of local citizens. Participating design companies include Whitelight Motion, Neil Tien design studio, Balance Wu Design, and Liberté Design.

When the passenger arrives on the platform at MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station, their attention is immediately seized by a wall 40 meters long and two meters high. A giant bulletin board declares that WDC events will peak in October. Station directions such as DzMind the Platform Gapdz were redesigned by Chih-heng Lin, director and graphic designer at Neil Tien design studio. By their nature, these phrases are usually more of a suggestion than a warning, said Tien. Thus, they used an eye-catching yellow as the dominant color of the new design, laced with red, blue, and white. The fun style, which both informs passengers and revitalizes the station, has garnered positive feedback.

2. Umbrella holders are renewed as part of the Design Station project.

In line with the new style, Yu-tang Hung, director of Whitelight Motion, who oversaw image production at the 27th Golden Melody Awards Ceremony, was commissioned to re-edit MRT promotional content. The new videos forego
conventional propaganda-style filming, and instead try to intrigue commuters with interesting and dynamic content.

Around station exits are displays combining design and public welfare. 點點善painted walls and staircases with the Children Are Us Foundation, an institution dedicated to the welfare of physically and mentally disabled children. With the help of designers, members of the foundation let their imaginations run wild on the theme of Dzwandering around the citydz. The finished work uses the character of DzMr. Fish Headdz, who is seen swimming freely about Taipei, to convey the idea of close connections between people and urban scenes. This work can be found at MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Exit 5.

Project design director Xiao-ru Wu said he was impressed by the young artists’boundless imagination and unique brushwork, and that he hoped that bringing design energy together in this way would show the world the aesthetic potential of the disabled.

Elsewhere, the widely acclaimed DzSmall Signs Manufacturedz project has been continued at MRT Zhongshan Station’s underground mall. Designers made illustrations for small signs for landmarks, including Dajih Market, Tsz Shing Temple, and Wanhua Grass Lane. The warmth and novelty of the illustrations have attracted the admiration of passersby.

3. Illustraions of popular stores and landscape are seen at Mrt Station

Plants and umbrella holders were also targets for redesign. Balance Wu Design brought themes of urban life and greenery into their design for plants. Their work Micro Green City outlines micro urban scenes about Taipei. Meanwhile, Liberté Design remodeled the station’s umbrella holders. Departing from the uniform stainless steel of the previous model, the bright orange color of the new heart-shaped holders makes them stand out. Redundant instructions were deleted and replaced with more inspiring messages of love. In addition to their practicality, the new umbrella holders bring greater aesthetic value.

At MRT Taipei Main Station, the escalators leading to MRT Danshui Line have been re-fashioned as mini galleries. Internationally renowned Taiwanese aboriginal artist Si-fu Yu's three works depict smiling figures and integrate elements of Eastern and Western cultures, creating a happy feel that permeates the space and conveys a positive energy. Innovative interactive installations include Wonderful Design Studio’s DzTouch Citydz, which employs temperature-sensitive paint to portray people interactions making Taiwan's most beautiful scenery. Mr. Sheep’s DzReading Citydzintegrates impressions of Taipei into city buildings, while Dotting Design’s DzFragrant citydz links scenes by various designers, expressing the idea that everyone is a city designer. Black Tallors’DzDesign in motiondz uses unplugged animation to show a city being continuously uplifted.

4. Travelers curious about the newly launched DzDesign Station: Better Airport Designdz project at Taoyuan International Airport.

More than just transport

The DzDesign Godz project links MRT, buses, YouBikes, and other public transport in order to bring WDC Taipei into every corner of the capital city and extend the beauty of design from MRT stations. In a bid to promote the new mobile life, on July 18 an exclusive MRT train repainted especially for WDC Taipei was officially launched. Illustrators Zhi-heng Lin, Zi-fan Hsu, and Wei-hong Fang were commissioned to redesign signage in carriages. Signs for DzPriority Seatdz, DzNo Smoking or Eatingdz, and other phrases were given humorous and uplifting illustrations.

WDC Taipei also collaborated with popular illustrator Magai to create stickers that appear in advertising for YouBike and buses. Also now available are the WDC exclusive LINE stickers with a Taipei theme. Images were created of people whose lives have been changed as a result of WDC Taipei, using friendly greetings and lively language to convey the beauty of design. Characters chosen include the designer, who often stays up late, and a student named Xiaofang, who explores the streets against the backdrop of the cityscape. The stickers vividly reproduce daily life in Taipei.

The projects will run until October 31. Taipei residents and tourists can visit the 2016 Taipei World Design Capital and enjoy the design city through a series of activities.

Taoyuan International Airport relayed for redesign

With renovation scheduled for several MRT stations, Taoyuan International Airport also started looking at redesign. The Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs and Taoyuan International Airport Corporation commissioned 25 designers and design teams to mount the first-ever design exhibition directly above baggage carousels at Terminal 1. Both returning citizens and foreign visitors will be able to enjoy the energy of design, which will also add to the airport’s overall design aesthetic.

The "Design Station: Better Airport Design" project features 27 works by renowned Taiwanese designers and showcased at the six baggage carousels in Terminal 1. The works fall into six categories: "Home Design", "Album Art", "Gift", "Taste", "Style", and "Transport". Exhibits were procured from areas including graphic design, motor vehicles, fashion, packaging, tea sets, and furniture. This exhibition also functions as a warm-up for the culmination of WDC activities in October.

5. Exhibits displayed at Terminal 1 show Taiwanese design energy.

The eye-catching exhibits are housed in white frames above the carousels. "Home Design" features four exhibits that evoke the pioneering spirit of early Taiwan andexpress innovative ideas. For example, designer Yu-run Zhou’s work Bambool uses traditional kneading skills and espouses a modern Oriental style. Designer Xiao-ru Wu’s red Ring Stool, which has enjoyed high acclaim both here and abroad, combines a cheap plastic bench with an antique chair, conveying strongly Chinese cultural characteristics.

In the category of “ Transport” , the Stair-Rover is the world’s first longboard that
gracefully adapts to the city’s every different terrain and any obstacle, taking even stairs with ease. The unique deck design and V-shaped trucks give the eight wheels a bionic maneuverability that enable them to automatically and independently adapt to the shape of the ground. The deck is resilient and flexible, making the urban skate-boarding experience like sailing through the city.For more information, please visit wdc2016.taipei.

Many more intriguing design works are on display in the baggage reclaim area at Taoyuan International Airport’s Terminal 1. The DzDesign Station: Better Airport Designdz project will run until October 31, enabling visitors from around the world to witness the unique design energy of Taiwan and WDC Taipei.