Taipei

I never thought of going to Taipei for holiday again after the last trip 3 years ago. Probably I wasn’t there for a reason and didn’t put any thoughts to the planning. This time I was there for work, a collaboration with a Taiwanese online platform Pinkoi, whom invited me to their weekend pop-up market at Songshan Cultural District.

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: HUMBLE HOUSE HOTEL :

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We stayed at Humble House Hotel, one of the members of Design Hotels. It’s in the city centre near the renouned Taipei 101 Tower. Designed by renowned hospitality interior design company Hirsch Bedner Associates Pte. Ltd. Design Consultants, also winner of “Number 1 Hospitality Design Firm” of 2014 who previously designed the world renowned Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Humble House has an elegant flair with touches of art.

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You can see art pieces here and there within the hotel, like these ones here.

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The room was nicely arranged with a walk-in closet… hello there!

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The room we were staying is looking right at the Taipei 101. It was a bit gloomy during the stay but it didn’t spoil the mood – I kind of like this resulting picture of the building.

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Service was good and we had a pleasant stay in general. No unnecessary surprises, an expected 5-star quality standard.

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It’s always nice to check out what the hotel facilities are – it tells so much about the hotel philosophy in these little touches. Between the spa and the swimming pool, there’s this little communal area where there were some interesting design, art and culture related book selections.

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Look at this BIG book!

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There was a restaurant and a bar with terrace, where you could see a nice green wall full of plants, adding live to the space.

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Canvas box-cut jacket by Ports 1961 here, with a little hint of mint color, getting close to the greenery.

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: SONGSHAN CULTURAL PARK :

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I’ve always hoped for Hong Kong to have something close to this. Songshan Cultural Park is one truly creative hub, and meaning “creative”, Taipei really knows what they are doing. It was a truly amazing atmosphere where general public respects and supports designers and artists. I was invited to participate in a pop-up market there and was really touched by the overwhelming support from the locals. Respect for their respect.

The area is a cultural heritage site of the city which was built 1937 as the “Taiwan Sōtokufu Tobacco Monopoly Bureau” during the Japanese colonial time. Now being converted, it is totally not focusing on the commercial side but inspiring the spirits of creativity. Somewhat different from what we have at PMQ in Hong Kong eh?

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So this was how the Pinkoi market look like at night. It was packed for the whole day – I felt the love from the locals who really appreciate the efforts in designing my bags. Truly amazing crowd =)

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A little peak of my bags there. Grassy was getting a lot of attention and questions as people wonder if they were real!

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This is a shop slash coffee shop inside the building, my favourite chillaxing place at the site.

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Cleverly partitioned seats in the self-service coffee shop area is somewhere I would love to work every day. Half privacy yet you can easily access to the open areas.

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This is the view from where I sat with my coffee, of course doing a bit of eye-shopping while sitting down.

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This little vintage corner (everything in there are real vintage pieces) is a little hideaway place to be! 2 hours easily passed and we sat there till 6pm, the closing time of the shop.

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And even the famous book/lifestyle store Eslite there is one with lots of indie brands and DIY workshops. Whether you are interested in leather craft, glassware or woodwork, you can easily spend hours getting lost inside.

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This is a leather accessories shop with workshop tables by Hsu & Daughter. Cute little shop started when the daughter requested to have a leather bag and her dad decided to learn and made one for her.

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You can choose your own leather to start with at the class.

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Another one is a glassware lab here, the girl sitting there was getting ready with her long clip to create shapes of the heated glass from the oven.

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These are the different colors you can pick for your very own glass piece. I wish I had more time to try out on of these workshops! Maybe next time!

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Oh and inside the cool select shop Artifacts, something familiar looking was on display – my friends Penter and Vikki’s wonderful creation of FASHIONARY, a sketchbook for fashion designers with all the handy info you need.

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: HUASHAN CULTURAL PARK :

Another similar district is Huashan Cultural Park. The former wine brewery spreads a larger area with a few complexes and a cinema. It is a comparatively more commercial oriented one with lots of restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets.

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There are always gigs with indie bands at the main entrance open area. It’s like a mini Clockenflap (if you want to relate to the major music festival in Hong Kong).

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There were a few musicians performing at various corners of the park – I’m saying real musicians and performers.

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I love the industrial look of the area and more importantly, the big lawn! Perfect picnic place within the city!

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There are a few cute huts and red brick buildings right next to the lawn. This one is my fav as you need to climb up that ladder into this low ceiling hut.

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VVG (meaning Very Very Good) is a chain with restaurants, cafes, and lifestyle stores. Quite nice deco in each of them – my pick is the lifestyle/book store, to be shown later in this post.

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I’m a sucker for letterpress stuff and any kind of stationary items. This shop reads me and I had so much fun playing around with the stamps and color pencils…

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The shop has even lined up a famous traditional letterpress company Ri Xing Type Foundry (which is a bit far away from the city center) for a little introduction, nice move!

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I don’t know what they mean by “what do you fab?” but this is more than a coffee shop. There was a laser cutting and 3D printing machine for rent – at very affordable prices. Designers’ heaven, no?

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: OTHER SELECT SHOPS :

Like Tokyo, Taipei has a few areas with small alleys packed with hidden cool select shops – around Zhongshan North Road and Zhong Xiao East Road area.

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This is a select shop by a local design/culture/fashion magazine PPAPER, which is a very good book for quick read. The selection of mainly fashion and lifestyle items were mostly unisex, with a few pieces of womenswear. They stocked quite a few quality independent brands from all over the world.

I’d say this is a shop not to be missed if you are in the city. And grab a copy of the mag as well – the editorial team’s office is right above it.

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VVG is here too but in a shop format. Cute little space selling interesting design related books and some practical ones like the one below:

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With useful tools for bikers!

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And this is also VVG, a coffee shop, right opposite to their shop. You can buy a book and bring it there for a little tea break – perfect weekend plans.

Coming to Zhong Xiao East Road, the renowned Dutch artist Mike Frederiqo‘s shop was the most outstanding one. The only physical shop of his in Taiwan is filled with humour. Mike started off as a graffiti and tattoo artist and soon experimented with digital printing and illustration.

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His tees in store were his latest project “Logos by Mike Frederiqo”  with various fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld, Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour presented in their respective logos in a humorous way. He got himself in a lawsuit with Chanel though…. but he himself didn’t seem to care much but instead framed the documents as an art piece.

Have you got the guts to play with your design?

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xxx

g.

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As a daughter of an entrepreneur and being one herself, Grace has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as 7 years of crafting content to G Edition, her very own edition of experience sharing in work and travel. She is a full-time bag designer and manufacturer, part-time traveler, and a lover of creative crafts.

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