Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
When it comes to design hot spots, Taipei might just be Asia's best-kept secret.

With a vibrant mix of gleaming modern buildings, relics of the country's Japanese colonial past, and its renovated old-school style, the bustling Taiwanese city embraces an artisanal spirit with almost everything they do. They're also early adopters of adaptive reuse, as many former warehouses and factories throughout the city have been converted into cultural parks and art spaces that serve the city's thriving art and design scenes. There's something to discover on every corner—so take a tour with us. 

Retro Studio

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 1 of 13 - Retro Studio has a cool selection of vintage and new modernist furniture. You can find a midcentury piece by Jean Prouvé, as well as work by up-and-coming designers like Taipei-based American designer Kyle Kennedy and his new line titled MORRAL. Pictured here is his Emily chair.

Retro Studio has a cool selection of vintage and new modernist furniture. You can find a midcentury piece by Jean Prouvé, as well as work by up-and-coming designers like Taipei-based American designer Kyle Kennedy and his new line titled MORRAL. Pictured here is his Emily chair.

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 2 of 13 - Newly opened in 2016, the postmodern Hotel Proverbs stands tall behind a minimalist dark patchwork mesh facade. Designed by noted Taiwanese architect Ray Chen, the eye-catching hotel has an equally stunning bakery and restaurant—both in stark contrast to the bustling night market that takes place in the neighborhood below.  

Newly opened in 2016, the postmodern Hotel Proverbs stands tall behind a minimalist dark patchwork mesh facade. Designed by noted Taiwanese architect Ray Chen, the eye-catching hotel has an equally stunning bakery and restaurant—both in stark contrast to the bustling night market that takes place in the neighborhood below.  

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 3 of 13 - Taiwanese brand RÜSKASA features minimalist wooden furniture that's locally designed and handcrafted using traditional Taiwanese techniques.

Taiwanese brand RÜSKASA features minimalist wooden furniture that's locally designed and handcrafted using traditional Taiwanese techniques.

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 4 of 13 - Serene and carefully edited, Xiaoqi is a mix of handcrafted Taiwanese and Japanese ceramics, home wares, and tabletop items. Their selection of colorful cast-iron tea pots and enamel coffee pots complement a selection from the popular Japanese ceramicist and designer, Makoto Kagoshima. 

Serene and carefully edited, Xiaoqi is a mix of handcrafted Taiwanese and Japanese ceramics, home wares, and tabletop items. Their selection of colorful cast-iron tea pots and enamel coffee pots complement a selection from the popular Japanese ceramicist and designer, Makoto Kagoshima. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 5 of 13 - This former winery built in 1914 has been elegantly restored and re-purposed as a cultural park and arts center. Located in the center of the city, it houses cafes, concept shops, pop-ups, a cinema, art exhibits, and FabCafe—the only 3D printer cafe in the country. 

This former winery built in 1914 has been elegantly restored and re-purposed as a cultural park and arts center. Located in the center of the city, it houses cafes, concept shops, pop-ups, a cinema, art exhibits, and FabCafe—the only 3D printer cafe in the country. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 6 of 13 -  Maintaining both a family legacy and preserving a dying cultural tradition, Chang Chieh-kuan is the owner of Ri Xing Type Foundry—Taiwan’s last Chinese letterpress—and is one of the last remaining lead Chinese character makers in the world. His father opened the foundry in 1969, and today, it's the only remaining store in the world that sells traditional Chinese moveable printing types.

 Maintaining both a family legacy and preserving a dying cultural tradition, Chang Chieh-kuan is the owner of Ri Xing Type Foundry—Taiwan’s last Chinese letterpress—and is one of the last remaining lead Chinese character makers in the world. His father opened the foundry in 1969, and today, it's the only remaining store in the world that sells traditional Chinese moveable printing types.

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 7 of 13 - This lifestyle store features stationary goods and interesting writing tools from all over the world. 

This lifestyle store features stationary goods and interesting writing tools from all over the world. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 8 of 13 - This quirky little general store is filled with lifestyle brands selected by the two owners who personally travel around the world to see where the products are made and meet the makers—hearing firsthand accounts of the stories behind the brands they carry.

This quirky little general store is filled with lifestyle brands selected by the two owners who personally travel around the world to see where the products are made and meet the makers—hearing firsthand accounts of the stories behind the brands they carry.

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 9 of 13 - The design-centric Eslite is a bookstore/lifestyle chain with a futuristic vibe. Open late—just like Taipei—they even have a 24-hour branch that's perfect for late-night meanderings. 

The design-centric Eslite is a bookstore/lifestyle chain with a futuristic vibe. Open late—just like Taipei—they even have a 24-hour branch that's perfect for late-night meanderings. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 10 of 13 - Taipei's coffee culture rivals that of the Pacific Northwest. At Ruins—an edgy"secret" cafe—they serve a wide range of single origin coffees, as well as a selection of hard-to-find craft beers. 

Taipei's coffee culture rivals that of the Pacific Northwest. At Ruins—an edgy"secret" cafe—they serve a wide range of single origin coffees, as well as a selection of hard-to-find craft beers. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 11 of 13 - Taiwan has a long history of high-quality tea production. As a result, many tea houses can be found there, but Shijian is one of the most design-focused. 

Taiwan has a long history of high-quality tea production. As a result, many tea houses can be found there, but Shijian is one of the most design-focused. 

Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 12 of 13 - The pineapple cake is a beloved Taiwanese snack—though it's not really a cake. It's actually a solid rectangular pineapple filling that's covered with a thin buttery shortbread-type crust. 

The pineapple cake is a beloved Taiwanese snack—though it's not really a cake. It's actually a solid rectangular pineapple filling that's covered with a thin buttery shortbread-type crust. 


Visit 12 Design-Centric Stops in the Asian Metropolis of Taipei - Photo 13 of 13 - Sunny Hills offers some of the best and most beautifully packaged treats, so it's no surprise that their recently-opened concept store is an alluring mix of Japanese and Taiwanese design. 

Sunny Hills offers some of the best and most beautifully packaged treats, so it's no surprise that their recently-opened concept store is an alluring mix of Japanese and Taiwanese design. 

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