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Design House Exhibition to Change Global Perception

July 16, 2016

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To mark the grand opening of the International Design House Exhibition, which is expected to attract over 800,000 visitors, President Tsai Ing-wen was joined today by the Minister of Economic Affairs Chih-Kung Lee; Mayor of Taipei City Ko Wen-je; Prof. Mugendi M'Rithaa, President of ICSID; and city representatives from Helsinki, Cape Town, Mexico City, Eindhoven, Kolding, and Phoenix.

The much anticipated International Design House Exhibition, which officially opened today, is the first of four major Signature Events to take place in October as part of World Design Capital Taipei 2016 (WDC Taipei 2016). The exhibition explores the WDC Taipei 2016 theme of Sisheng: Quality of Life and Health, Ecological Sustainability, Smart Living, and Urban Regeneration, and aims to ignite public discussion about urban development and the power of design thinking and social design projects to shape the future of cities.

On stage today, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her support for the local design industry. "I really hope that Taiwanese society can respect the expertise of designers and really get to know the value of design. Design can be used to change our lives, and design can be an indispensable part of improving our national strength," she said. "World Design Capital is a very good platform for people to experience design for themselves, and for all professionals from all over the world to exchange their ideas. In addition, Taiwan designers can also broaden their horizons through this platform."

President Tsai's thoughts on the importance of the International Design House Exhibition were echoed by Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je. "During this exhibition, we hope that we can show the world the strength of design in Taiwan," Mayor Ko said. "If we want to change Taipei, then we have to start from changing our culture, and changing culture starts with design. Through design, we hope that we can make Taipei a prettier and more convenient city. This year, this design exhibition is only the beginning."

"We hope that you have a chance to discover each and every one of the design exhibits on display here at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park until the end of the month," said Prof. Mugendi M'Rithaa, President of ICSID, the organizers of the World Design Capital designation, to an attendant audience. "May you be inspired by the many new design ideas and encouraged by the way design thinking is having a positive impact on the lives of people in Taipei and in different parts of the world. And may your interactions here today and in the coming weeks lead to tangible design-driven results."

At the opening ceremony, seven cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) following the City of Networks Meeting, one of WDC Taipei 2016's four International Signature Events. The MOU aims to strengthen bilateral exchange and cooperation by enhancing the promotion of design and exploring export opportunities for the design industry. The signatory parties, which included Cape Town, Eindhoven, Helsinki, Kolding, Mexico City, Phoenix, and Taipei, agreed to facilitate collaboration in design exchange, the incubation of talent, industrial support, and research and development.

Representing Taipei at the Network of Cities Meeting, Mayor Ko Wen-je spoke of the continued commitment to changing the city through design. WDC Taipei 2016 is just the first step, he said, and promised to continue the activities started this year into the next five to ten years. Anne Stenros, who just last month took up the position of Helsinki's Chief Design Officer, notes that the former WDC city will focus on finding innovative solutions to future problems, many of which are unknown at this time. Mayor Jorn Pedersen of Kolding, a city that exhibited as part of WDC Taipei 2016 earlier in the year, noted that despite their small population, they still find ways to implement design into education, city development, and business. In 2017, the city will hold its first Design Week.

The International City Pavilion of the International Design House Exhibition, Unfold Cities, with participants from 13 international cities, countries, and organizations -- Austria, Beijing, Cape Town, Germany, Helsinki, India, the Netherlands, Osaka, Paris, the Philippines, Switzerland and Yokohama -- presents an inspirational exploration of how global cities can use design to face the continuing challenges of urbanization.

Taipei Issuuuue, the theme of Taipei Pavilion II, curated by Agua Chou of Taipei-based studio Agua Design, showcases the results of innovative WDC Taipei 2016 projects, including the International Open Call and Designer in Residence programs, and explores the impact of public planning and design policies in Taipei City. In the Power of Taiwan Design Pavilion, curator Li Wei-Lang, the Creative Director for Afterain Design, presents an exhibition called Breakthrough that showcases innovation in Taiwanese design in the fields of science and technology, art and craft, and sustainability.

In Taipei Pavilion I, Page Tsou, celebrated visual artist and founder of Taipei-based studio Auspicious Design, presents Visual Taipei. This exhibition features over 300 works by renowned illustrators, graphic designers, and visual artists from around the world. Renowned Taiwanese contemporary calligraphic artist Tong Yang-Tze presents From Ink to Apparel: A Crossover between Calligraphy Art and Fashion Design. This collaborative exhibition features the works of six up-and-coming Taiwanese fashion designers, which interpret Tong's art.

The International Design House Exhibition, located in the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, will be open every day from 10AM to 6PM, from Thursday, October 13 to Sunday, October 30, and is free for all visitors. A free shuttle bus service will be provided from Songshan Cultural Creative Park to three satellite exhibition areas around the city, including Yongkang Street, Zhongshan-Shuanglian District, and Wanhua-Dadaocheng District. For more information, visit: http://wdc2016.taipei/en/international-design-house-exhibition/.

Other major events in October include the International Design Policy Conference to be held on the weekend of October 15 and 16 at the Taipei International Convention Center; and the International Design Week Forum to be held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum on Tuesday, October 18.

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