Taiwan’s Got Talent – YODEX 2016

No. I’m not talking about the TV Show. What is even more enthralling and praiseworthy is the talent at this year’s Young Designer’s Exhibition recently held at Taipei’s World Trade Exhibition Centre.

YODEX. The world’s largest student-orientated design exhibition, is the only one of its kind. Graduates from universities across Taiwan and abroad crowd into one place in Taipei to show off their talent as well as compete for one of the most prestigious design awards given to emerging designers.

Held every year in May, the 4-day expo showcases some 4000 projects and attracts an audience of 95,000 strong. Anything and everything design-led is here under one roof. Product design, fashion, visual communication design, spatial design…It’s a buffet for the design-hungry. Not only that, it’s a stellar opportunity to get acquainted with some of the brightest young minds.

For the 9000 or so students who come from 64 universities and colleges around Taiwan, as well as the 13 design institutes across the globe, it is a platform to see the industry beyond graduation; an opportunity to stand out to potential employers and sponsors. Since 2015 year, the highlight for these fresh creatives is the Young Pin Design Award, which will be given to outstanding designs in each of the 7 categories determined by a panel  of judges, all of whom you can be assured hold impressive curricula vitae.

Winners or not, the level of ingenuity here practically pulsated through the Centre this year. I interviewed the fresh-faced designers who have worked on pieces of a particular interest of mine – social design. My next few posts will expand on some of my favourites and their stories.

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– with King-Hong (Anthony) Au Yeung – 30 years old

Nothing beats listening to the stories of young children to brighten your day. Based on the simple idea of marketing happy stories, just like your feel-good version of HONY, Cheer Up! serves as a reminder that happiness lies in the understated and often overlooked. Designed by Xin-Qi Lu, Hsueh-Chi Wang, Yung-Bing Wang, Bing-Cheng Wu, and King-Hong Au Yeung of Ming Chuan University, the project exhibits the stories of children from rural schools. Complete with bright, light-hearted posters, leaflets, a 3D book, and even an interactive happiness vending machine, Cheer Up! won a Young Pin Award in the visual communication design category.


What was the motivation behind designing this project?

In today’s society more and more people are finding that there are many aspects in their lives that are becoming too convoluted and difficult. It can be hard for someone to feel happiness. We hope to encourage our audience to return to moments in their childhood that made them happy. To know that happiness is in fact a very simple thing. It’s also a reminder to them to always preserve that childlike mind. That by returning to thinking in a simplistic way, being happy is an easy thing to do.

Thinking more simplistically…in which way?

It can be as simple as drinking a glass of water on a hot day; eating till you’re full. Just like what these kids speak of.

What have you personally taken away from working on this project ? 

Having worked on this project I often ask myself, why is it that when we get older we complicate matters and lose sight of small accomplishments that makes happiness attainable. I now can go back to thinking more simply, just like when I was young: ‘I want to do something fun’, so I go out; ‘I want to eat well. I want to sleep’, so I do these things. We as adults make our lives more complicated than it really is. The project taught me to be more aware that it is the little things which makes us happy. I hope that our work can bring this same sentiment to our audiences.

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The wonderful idea behind the happiness vending machine is to exchange happy stories and to keep the cycle of happiness going. By adding your own story of happiness to the machine, you will then receive the booklets and pamphlets which detail the happy stories of school-children.

If you missed out on YODEX this year, don’t despair. Works from graduates that were on display at YODEX are also currently on exhibit at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. As part of the World Design Capital Taipei 2016, there are even more events coming up so check this events calendar to stay up to date!

Keep an eye out for Series II where I interview 22 year old Jian Jing-Wen from Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology on her collaborative project, the U-ride, a two-in-one electric bike and segway.