MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Taipei Toy Festival

Luckily for me, our trip to Taiwan coincided with the dates for the 2009 Taipei Toy Festival. Held annually, the event is the premiere Asian designer vinyl show with artists and companies coming from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.

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Having never been to any designer toy fairs and not considering myself to be a serious collector, I went mainly to window-shop and the Taipei Toy Festival was a great place for that.

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This year, the festival was held in the Huashan Creative Park, a raw and rustic-looking place clustering a series of different sized buildings set up for artists to rent studios in. It was a short walk from the Shandao Temple MRT station and all the stands took up a space inside one of the warehouse-sized buildings in the park.

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Much of what we did at the festival was simply to stare at all the ranges of designer toys. Some were due for future release whilst others were heavily customised or custom-created for the show to become a showcase for artist's skills.

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Without any insight into the brands attending the show, or the industry itself, I can only highlight what I personally found cool to look at or comment on any themes that I did recognise.

Unusual designs such as this custom-built flying machine caught my eye as did the following figures of the gang and the woman on a moped, all sporting a cool designer-look.

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This figure of a Shaolin monk was simply adorned, but blew me away with its realism.

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There were custom variations of basic figure designs such as the following (Qees?). Love the storm trooper but then found the hotpot head to be highly original and unique to East-Asian culture.

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Smaller figures like the following also came in over a hundred variations bearing different colour schemes, body markings and accessories.

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Not sure what these spiky heads were all about, but they still looked cool as a set.

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A woman in a suit?

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As are combinations of organic and metallic in this *harmless* looking fella.

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A company called Material Music displayed figurine versions of their unusual two dimensional characters and I loved the inventive incorporation of household objects such as this fork.

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I happened to buy two "pony" figures that resemble the shape below, but this one happened to be one of many custom-painted designs.

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Even religion was touched on with a stall displaying these buddha heads, adorned with creative face work.

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Movie and game licenses made an appearance several times.

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Whilst some characters just looked plain cute or unusually cool.

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Of course, what toy festival would be complete without Hello Kitty showing up?

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We also recognised and were amused to see these life-size statues of the Chinese cartoon character Master Q or Lo Fu Ji. A stall was selling smaller, collectible sizes of this vintage character.

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From our visit, we understood that a big aspect of events like the Taipei Toy Festival was the chance for fans to meet and talk with the artists and creators of the characters and toys. We saw quite a few of the artists working on pieces for their stalls (or distributor's stalls).

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Linh had taken to the Tummie & Friends series of plush toys and eventually bought a couple, snagging the artist creators, who had come from The Netherlands, to sign each toy label. She also managed to get them to draw her a custom sketch there and then.

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Finally, Linh's highlight was to get her Hello Kitty Tokidoki wallet signed by the designer of the Tokidoki brand himself, Simone Legno, who was originally from Rome, but now illustrates for his super-famous brand in Los Angeles.

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More photos from the Taipei Toy Festival 2009 on Flickr

More on the official Taipei Toy Festival website



This entry posted in : Events. Shopping. Taiwan.

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