Established in 2003, the Taiwan Design Expo has been held in nearly 10 cities over the last two decades, accumulating more than 21 million visitors. Each year, experts and consultants join the curatorial team to coordinate local elements and add value to local industries through design and showcase unique regional characteristics alongside the regional government. Offering visitors a glimpse inside the host city’s history and culture, an increasing number of cities are recognizing the design exhibition as a key platform to foster a sort of urban rebrand. This year marks the third Taiwan Design Expo in Kaohsiung.

Initially held at Weiwuying (National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts) in 2005, the exhibition was moved to the Pier-2 Art Center in 2012. After rejuvenating the spaces, the two venues have both become vital forums of arts and culture for the city. Finally returning to Kaohsiung after a decade, this year’s Expo not only upheld monumental historical significance, but also bore witness to Kaohsiung’s modernization, as well as its brand-new urban outlook inspired by the power of design.

The 2022 Taiwan Design Expo, held in Kaohsiung with the theme of ‘’ showcased the largest exhibition to date. The three exhibition areas, Design Zone, City Exhibit, and Design Responses, cumulatively housed 33 exhibitions and more than 1,000 relevant events and happenings spread out over all of Kaohsiung’s 38 administrative districts. The unique historical significance of this year’s exhibition also prompted the organizers to set foot at Penglai Business Port, also known as the economic backbone of Kaohsiung. Penglai was once a crucial port for transferring shipments from the Port of Kaohsiung and helped Taiwan market its abundant agricultural products to the rest of the world. 

Having revamped several large warehouses by the port, the past economic backbone is transformed into the main exhibition area, the Design Zone. Its 355,000 square feet exhibition area not only makes it the largest exhibition venue, but also makes this year’s Taiwan Design Expo the largest design exhibition in the past decade. On top of the main attraction, seven historical sites are also open to the public as part of the City Exhibit. Nearly 1,000 exhibition-related events are held throughout Kaohsiung’s 38 districts, covering various themes of everyday life, from food, clothing and accommodations, to transportation and recreation. 

On top of these diverse events, this year’s design exhibition also had the most number of designers. More than 500 designers from various fields converged at Kaohsiung to join this year’s Design Expo. By utilizing their collective ideas and skills, they initiated conversations between urban governance and design thinking to create the branding of Kaohsiung jointly. The public was encouraged to appreciate Taiwanese designs from a distinctly Kaohsiung viewpoint. On top of being reported by more than 1,000 news articles, it also accumulated 6 million visits – generating an estimated NT$4.9 billion worth of revenue in tourism. 

The trendiest designs were represented across 10 themed exhibitions, 7 historical venues and 38 districts.

The 10 exhibitions showcased within the Design Zone all portrayed various aspects of Kaohsiung’s designs, such as industry developments, circular design, regional industries, smart tourism, youth designs, metaverse, and more. The Power of Taiwan Design consisted of 22 40-inch shipping containers, each holding the designs from different art and design teams throughout Taiwan. They displayed works from various disciplines, including architecture, graphic design, music, fashion, and social welfare. In addition to the exhibitions, brilliant performances involving lasers and lights lit up the sky every night. The beams of light and music transformed the harborside, while the bar at the center of the containers also provided a chance to enjoy Kaohsiung’s portside nightscape.

Another highlight of this year’s Expo was the Future Safari, in which a next-generation cruise ferry was constructed using a combination of design and technology. By linking the Port of Kaohsiung’s history with the future imaginations for the Asia New Bay Area, a vision for smart tourism exclusive to Kaohsiung was born. Visitors were able to get a firsthand experience of this vision by boarding the ferry and watching the exhibition.

In addition to showcasing Taiwanese designs from the perspective of Kaohsiung, the 2022 Taiwan Design Expo also introduced design thinking into the public consciousness. From the traditional market, the fish market, to the city’s youth housing and taxi cars, the 2022 Taiwan Design Expo left a lasting impression on its regional design. The vitality of art and design are now permanently etched into every corner of Kaohsiung.

Featuring hundreds of designers, the event also focused on inspiring next generation of design leaders 

More than 500 designers participated in this year’s Taiwan Design Expo, while efforts were also made to focus on the next generation of design leaders. For instance, the main event visual was created by Local Remote, the youngest team of designers in the history of the Expo. The team utilized Processing, a coding technology, to build the visual design, which also corresponded with Kaohsiung’s work in innovative technology in recent years. Moreover, this was the first time that the Youth Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government took part in Taiwan Design Expo, and high school students were invited to showcase their works as part of the event. 

The collective efforts of curators, designers, and staff helped the 2022 Taiwan Design Expo achieve tremendous success. Building on this year’s success, the Taiwan Design Expo will surely continue to drive cities forward using design and creative energy to influence the future urban landscapes. 

About Taiwan Design Expo

Since its inception in 2003, Taiwan Design Expo has become one of the largest annual design exhibitions in Taiwan. Organized by Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and executed by TDRI, the Expo collaborates with different a municipal governments every year through call for submissions; targeting local lifestyle, culture, and unique industrial features, the Expo utilizes design thinking to reinterpret the meaning of the new age, and presents the present and future of local design and industries through exhibitions and diverse activities, hoping to explore domestic and international issues of design and industries by curating thematic exhibitions.