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Taipei design exhibition focuses on contributions to society

By Yali Chen

Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (second left) shows keen interest in MIT’s foldable all-electric CityCar at the 2014 Taipei Design and City Exhibition. (Courtesy of the Department of Cultural Affairs)The 2014 Taipei Design and City Exhibition, organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), has kicked off at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and will run through October 26.

The expo has brought together a group of 24 designers and teams to showcase more than 150 works. Besides, a total of 13 seminars and 6 workshops will also take place during the 23-day event.

Focusing on the theme of design fusion, the expo features 22 world-class projects created by 10 designers from 9 countries, including Taiwan, Japan, India, Israel, the U.S., Australia, the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands.

The DCA Commissioner Liou Wei-gong said the event will facilitate in-depth understanding of design cultures around the world and keep Taipei abreast of the latest cultural developments.

Viewers put their feet on the pedals of lightweight bicycles, named Siva Cycle Atom, to generate electricity for the LED headlights. (Courtesy of the Department of Cultural Affairs)The city government has been stepping up efforts to promote design cultures leading up to its designation as the World Design Capital in 2016 and to make the locals familiar with the importance of design in everyday life, according to Liou.

Design is more than high concepts and fancy ideas, he said, adding that it plays a catalytic role in improving human life and advancing social progress.

Since the focus of this year’s exhibit is the social awareness embedded in world-class design, exhibits of interest range from a hand-cranked washing machine bucket to kites that measure air pollution, syringes that change color after use, and small stoves designed to reduce firewood use in developing countries.

Other notable projects include a stackable, all-electric concept car designed for urban use by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tentatively named MIT CityCar, the vehicle features a folding chassis that allows it to occupy a smaller parking footprint.

Another similar concept vehicle is Siva Cycle Atom, a lightweight bicycle mounted with a generator and rechargeable battery. The system is powered as a rider pedals and can also charge electronic and mobile devices via USB.