The term "design hotel" takes on refreshing new meaning at Taipei’s Play Design Hotel, an “inhabitable gallery” where the rooms are outfitted entirely in local Taiwanese designs—from the bespoke furnishings to the toothbrush holders and pens.
Interactive designer Daniel Chen is the brains behind this experimental, five-room boutique hotel—and runner-up in the 2017 Radical Innovation Awards—that connects travelers with Taiwanese designers, many of whom would otherwise struggle with tapping into international markets. More than just a place to lay your head, this unique hotel lets guests get hands-on with contemporary Taiwanese design in an immersive, off-the-beaten-path experience.
Located on the fifth floor of an unassuming building in Datong district, Play Design Hotel is a hidden gem with only a small sign to announce its presence. Polished concrete walls and floors coupled with large, black, metal-framed windows create an elegant backdrop for the hand-picked design objects sourced from over 100 local Taiwanese designers.
Each of the hotel’s five rooms is carefully curated with handpicked design objects that guests are encouraged to use—unlike most design hotels, the art here isn’t just eye candy. A scan of a QR code pulls up the design products in each room with descriptions and purchasing options.
Upon check-in, guests are taken on a tour of the available rooms with explanations of their respective themes. Design-conscious travelers interested in diving further into Taipei’s art scene are given personalized recommendations for local works, events, exhibitions, and shops.
Play Design Hotel also serves as a design incubator where local designers can exhibit their prototypes for the first time and receive feedback from user testing.
Chen hopes to one day expand Play Design Hotel’s concept to other commercial spaces like restaurants, so that guests can learn more about the origins of design objects around them, from the cutlery to the furniture.
The Guest Selections room lets guests select the Taiwanese design objects they would like in their room, as well as the layout, before they check in.
The Future Lab room shows off avant-garde Taiwanese design.
The themes of the five rooms often change, creating different experiences for travelers to look forward to on their next trip back.