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

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

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.

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.  

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

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. 

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. 

 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.

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

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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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