Over 9000 students gathered to exhibit more than 4000 undergraduate design projects at the 2016 edition of the annual YODEX (Young Designers’ Exhibition), which wrapped up on Monday, May 16, in Taipei.
As part of the World Design Capital® (WDC) Taipei 2016 year-long programme, YODEX was an opportunity to celebrate the innovation and creativity of Taiwanese students, and to reflect upon design’s potential to change society for the better. Embodying the WDC Taipei 2016 theme of “Adaptive City: Design in Motion,” students displayed design works that exhibited a strong environmental and social awareness—from sustainable oyster farming innovations to smart medical technology.
Founded in 1982 by the Industrial Development Bureau and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and executed this year by the Taiwan Design Center, YODEX is the world’s largest student design exhibition. Held in the Taipei World Trade Center, this year’s event featured graduation works by undergraduate students from 64 Taiwanese universities and colleges. During the awards ceremony held last Sunday, 42 outstanding projects were honored by the Young Pin Design Awards.
Many of the exhibited projects demonstrated the pioneering potential of young Taiwanese designers to lead the world in adapting to the challenges of the twenty-first century, such as increasingly unstable climate patterns. Students Tzu-Yu Tseng and Chuan-En Lee from the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology were awarded with a Young Pin Design Award Mark for a project entitled OYSFLOATER that seeks to improve the valuable oyster farming industry in Southern Taiwan. The students designed a mobile, floating oyster farming platform that can withstand typhoons, limits damage to ocean ecosystems, and enables easy cleaning and harvesting.
Wen-Hsien Kuo from National Taipei University of Technology also earned a Young Pin Design Award Mark for her project, Tree Vase. The vase-like bamboo support structure can be adjusted as a tree grows and protects it from typhoon damage.
Responding to recent food safety scandals in Taiwan, students Ching-Kai Su, Wei-Xuan Zhang, and Zhi-Xiang Yang from Tainan University of Technology were awarded a Young Pin Design Award Mark for their spatial design project, Naked Market. Their proposal transforms the Nanmen Weekend Flower Market in Tainan into a multifunctional agricultural market, which aims to create a fairer, safer, and more transparent food ecosystem.
Several impressive product designs targeted common health issues with smart technology, for example, a project called KNEES UP by Yan-Fu Liu of Shih Chien University, which earned its inventor a coveted Best of Young Pin Design Award. The product links rehabilitation exercise app software with a wearable device to help the user to correctly train the supporting muscles around a painful arthritic knee joint.
An outstanding project in the Visual Communication Design category, a poster series entitled Syrian Refugees Crisis, won a Best of Young Pin Design Award. Designed by Kuanlun Huang from Hsing Wu University, the series aims to combat inertia and apathy in the Taiwanese response to the global Syrian refugee crisis, which the designer notes is underreported in Chinese-language media, by stimulating empathy for the struggles faced by families fleeing their homes.