In a modern world which is in a near-constant state of flux, it is so often the case that we, and the cities we live in, suffer from a bit of lag — because we haven’t figured out how best to evolve with the new technologies and designs we live alongside.
But cities like Taipei are bucking that trend. Over the past 50 years, Taipei has raised the quality of its citizens’ lives by embracing design-led innovation as a means of addressing its urban challenges. These advancements include landmark evolutions in its transit system, specialised medical care, and energised growth within it’s IT industry, graphic and product design industries, and urban projects and developments.
Wood Light by 13&9 Design.
So with all of that considered, it makes sense that Taipei be the host of the 2016 World Design Capital biennial showcase. The theme for World Design Capital Taipei 2016 is “Adaptive City — Design in Motion”. Focussing on how ‘design thinking’ can help to overcome the constraints of limited resources on city development, the theme aims to discern how urban governance can best promote and help innovative design to create the best quality of life for city citizens, and how to maintain that quality into the future.
One contributor to WDC Taipei 2016 is Austria — the country who’ve brought the world everything from Mozart and Schubert to Klimt and Neutra and Rainer Maria Rilke. The home of Freud and his studies of psychoanalysis, Doppler and his effect, the Schrödinger equation and the invention of the internal combustion engine, Austria has long been a harbinger of wide-ranging and adventurous discoveries and designs.
Geh Stell by MARCH GUT.
It’s the design, modern design, which is the focus of Austria’s presentation the WDC showcase. Austria’s 50-some entries have a strong focus on industrial design; ‘Designed Cliché. Austrian Industrial Design’ — that’s what it’s called, and that’s what’s on offer.
All of the products showcased gently touch upon Austrian clichés with a sense of playful nostalgia, and many of the items selected promote a healthy lifestyle and are meant to enhance their users’ daily routine.
Mam Feedingline by GP designpartners gmbh.
The entries in the exhibit are wide-ranging — from skis to kids cutlery sets — but they all have one clear commonality: functionality. Whether it be a perfumed pair of sunglasses, a smartphone case, or an adaptable and beautiful wooden lamp light, the collection of Austrian designs on show at WDC Taipei 2016 is surely one of the most exciting on offer.
Here’re just a few of Austria’s impressive exhibits from World Design Capital Taipei 2016:
Roxy by Glashütte Comploj.
These ‘Roxy’ glassworks by Glashütte Comploj come from the studio of Robert Comploj. Employing traditional ‘Murano’ techniques to create unique pieces which are the only of their kind in Austria, each piece is handmade and mouth-blown.
Perfumed Smartphone Case by Organic Cases.
Organika Cases by MMore Cases are smartphone cases with a difference. Organic, hand-crafted phone cases aren’t a new idea; wooden phone cases are popular enough. But Organika cases aren’t only made from wood. They also come in coffee bean, jasmine, hay, rose, and leaf varieties.
Kitchen Management by Riess.
Austrian kitchenware brand Riess is a 400-year-old company — so it’s probably safe to assume they know what they’re doing. These kitchen canisters by Riess, who are known for their porcelain enamelware cookware and kitchen products, are each made from a single piece of hand-formed steel coated with four layers of high-grade enamel.
Ausarten Lautsprecher by mo° sound.
Looks can be very deceiving, and in the case of these tiny, 23cm porcelain balls by mo° sound, that is certainly the case. Why? Because these little techno-orbs, made using the explosion method, are full-range loudspeakers with a volume of 5 litres.
Bite by EOOS
Did you know that the average woman supposedly eats up to three kilogrammes of lipstick over her lifetime? It’s probably a good idea, then, to invest in a lipstick which is quite literally good enough to eat — like these by EOOS. Moreover, the sculptural matte black ‘Bite Beauty’ lipstick tubes are meant to resemble the different shapes a woman’s favourite lipstick takes over time.
Amberienthesky by prelude gumbo
Perludi’s tagline is “great design for small people”, and that’s exactly what this sleek little rocking seat is! Called the Constantin, the rocker is meant to promote physical activity and fine-tune children’s motor skills and creativity. It is also specially designed to take into account the developmental and phycological aspects of childhood intelligence.
Spaniels by Ars Electronica Future Lab.
The SPAXELS is a drone with a difference. The word itself originates from the term ‘space pixels’; indicative of the fact that these drones are used to carry a sky-born LED lighting system. Using a set-up of up to 100 quadcopters to form a “dynamic swarm”, the SPAXELS system creates visual images in the sky.
Designed Cliché. Austrian Industrial Design opens on Thursday, October 13 and runs until October 30. The International City Pavillion is located at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (133, Guangfu S Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City, Taiwan).
You can find more about World Design Capital Taipei 2016 at wdc2016.taipei.