The Taiwan Design Center (TDC) and the Design and Creative Center Kobe (KIITO) teamed up to put on the “Life is Creative” Exhibition, which is set to begin today (the 19th) at the KIITO. The exhibition will feature projects from Taiwan and Japan societies exploring the topic of “Design for Aging Societies”. At the end of November, the exhibition will move to the Taiwan Design Museum at the TDC.
The goal of this year’s exhibit is to fuse experience from the two different societies and inspire new projects. The KIITO held an opening party the night before the exhibition opened (the 18th) and invited representatives from the TDC as well as the exhibitors from Taiwan to attend this event. One of the exhibitors, a group of chefs from Sui — a restaurant in Taipei that exclusively hires senior citizens as chefs — prepared a decadent Taiwanese meal that ignited the tastebuds of the international guests.
Alongside the advance of modern medicine, Taiwan has officially been designated an aging society. As a result, society must adapt to the changing ways of life and consumer habits. To this end, the TDC developed a “Social Innovation and Sustainable Design Platform” in the hopes it would spark cross-disciplinary innovation. Through this platform, different design teams worked on projects specifically curtailed to the increasing number of senior citizens in Taiwan.
However, the platform isn’t intended to encourage design teams to design for the elderly, but rather to design alongside them — encouraging cross-generational cooperation and learning.
The TDC started collaborating with the Kobe Design and Creative Center in 2018. Besides inviting Japanese representatives to come to Taiwan to give presentations, TDC also invited Japanese and Taiwanese design teams share creative insights with each other, while also affording the Japanese designers a chance to better understand the social design projects in Taiwan.
For example, the Taiwanese design agencies DreamVok and 5% Design Action teamed up to find a better solution to long-term care facilities for patients who are physically disabled or suffer from dementia. The plan was split into two parts. The first part included an ecological tour, while the second focused on developing a more innovative way to administer care, giving caregivers the tools to help their patients recollect cherished memories. They also initiated a new plan “O. Fashion”, creating a team of elderly and young designers that worked together to develop a clothing line for the elderly.
▲ Dreamvok’s project for giving caregivers the tools to help their patients recollect cherished memories.
Sui, a design agency located in Taipei, recently launched a new restaurant that invites the older generation to share their favorite recipes with young people living in the city (and likely far away from a home-cooked meal). Not only do the meals result in full bellies and animated chatter amongst the guests, it also brightens the chefs’ faces — bringing back memories and flavors from their childhood. During the KIITO representative’s last visit in Taiwan, when they attended one of the dinners, the chefs welcomed the Japanese visitor with a Taiwanese specialty: stinky tofu. The representative was taken aback by the unique texture, kicking off this evening’s feast of Taiwanese cuisine.
Another project came from the Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation, who developed the “Go Grandriders” campaign, helping senior citizens achieve their dream of traveling around the circumference of Taiwan. In 2012, a documentary of a group of free-spirited senior citizens that journeyed around Taiwan by scooter broke box office records — invigorating a new wave of senior citizens to take the journey themselves.
▲ Sui’s restaurant project.
▲ The “Free Day” project.
The KIITO also selected seven original projects based on the degree of innovation and effectiveness, inviting the local design teams to present at the “Life is Creative” Exhibition. Besides the aforementioned five projects, KIITO also took notice to two other projects from Taichung: “Goldenville”, by the You-Ben design agency and “OLD YES!”, by Old Five Old Foundation. These projects worked to better understand the living demands of local senior citizens through combined insight from project managers, nurses, and social workers.
For example, they hosted courses and workshops to help improve societal integration and implemented local services that increased quality of life. The mutual effort of Taiwan’s social innovation designers brought these projects to fruition, while TDC provided the platform to guide cross-generational cooperation.
On the other hand, the KIITO’s project — the Ojisan Bread Classroom — taught male senior citizens how to make bread, so they could use these skills to benefit both their families and the greater society — and giving them a chance to stretch their brains with an activity that’s both challenging and exciting. The project was so successful that it has since expanded beyond Kobe into Saga and Hiroshima Prefectures. These projects will show the world innovation and design coming out of Japan and Taiwan.
▲ KIITO’s project “Ojisan Bread Classroom”.
Taiwanese-Japanese Lecture Exchange Series
The social design in Taiwan has matured under the TDC’s guidance, initiating several projects for the elderly including workshops on “Raising Confidence” and “Finding Meaning after Retirement”. People in Kobe was curious about Taiwan’s experience and planned four forums, inviting Taiwanese design teams and local representatives to exchange ideas. The first forum invited the following representatives: Cherry Chen, the founder of Sui; Li-Li You, founder of Old Yes!; and the founder of Ojisan Bread Classroom, Kato Kei. Together they discussed the topic “Nurturing Food”.
The second forum invited the co-founder of “O. Fashion”, Lyu Cheng-Huei to the Kobe Adult Sewing Class to throw around different ideas about fashion for the older generation. The third forum invited Professor Ji Jin-Shan — from the Department of Social Work and Child Welfare at Providence University, who also founded the senior care facility Goldenville — to share his insights. The final forum explored the topic, “Dreams and Quality of Life for the Elderly”, inviting a representative from the documentary “Go Grandriders” and Professors Chen Ming-Shi and Li Li-Hui from the Department of Industrial Design at Tunghai University. They explored the idea of “Refreshing the Image of the Elderly”.
▲ The “Go Grandriders” project by Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation.
This year’s exhibition puts the KIITO at center stage, opening the road to the next stage of innovation. The exhibition starts today and ends on October 27th. The exhibit is put on in a way different from other exhibitions, as it starts from the strategy of each project, exploring the process and each of the steps. It’s presented in a typical minimalistic, Japanese style, while also inserting interviews from participating, adding rich research database to the exhibit. There are also the photographs and props depicting different stages of the design journey, including design and implementation — giving Japanese visitors a chance to fully understand the Taiwan experience.
After the event finishes, the TDC will invite Japanese curators to come to Taiwan from November 26, 2019 to February 23, 2020 to plan different events in collaboration with Taiwan Design Museum. Anyone interested should pay close attention to the Taiwan Design Museum website for updates!
2019 LIFE IS CREATIVE
- Date: 2019.10.19 – 27
- Opening Time: 11:00-19:00 (Free)
- Location: Design and Creative Center Kobe (KIITO)
- Organizer: Design and Creative Center Kobe (KIITO)
- Co-organizer: Taiwan Design Center
- Collaborators: Tunghai University & Kobe Design University
- Official Website: https://reurl.cc/rl5eL1