台灣工藝

前進東南亞,拓展全球布局
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2015 / 4月

文‧朱立群 圖‧國立台灣工藝研究發展中心提供


文創產業要能做大,國際市場之路,非走不可。今年3月,文化部所屬國立台灣工藝研究發展中心(簡稱工藝中心)率國內工藝業者,參加在曼谷舉行的泰國國際工藝創新展,繼歐、美、日本及中國大陸市場之後,首次針對東南亞市場展開拓銷布局。


2015年泰國國際工藝創新展,3月19至22日在曼谷國際貿易展覽中心舉行,展會主題是「泰國與東協及國際工藝的連結」。台灣今年首度參展,而且日後將以曼谷為據點,拓銷台灣工藝在東南亞的商機與文化影響力。

東協市場不容小覷

今年第4屆展會與第1屆相較,參展國家從二十餘國增至三十餘國,廠商家數從181家增至300家,參觀人數更從7,000人大幅成長至2萬人。4年來,人潮、商機一屆比一屆熱絡,顯見東南亞國家經濟復甦,工藝品研發與消費市場正快速起飛,而且後勢看漲。

近年在泰國政府有計畫地推動下,曼谷已經成為東南亞國家推動美學設計創新的指標城市。2012年開始舉辦的泰國國際工藝創新展,扮演著扶植泰國工藝設計產業,以及搭建平台、媒合產品國際(特別是ASEAN東協國家)接單的角色。

東協國家包括汶萊、柬埔寨、印尼、寮國、馬來西亞、緬甸、新加坡、菲律賓、泰國和越南。10國若以整體視之,其為全球第7大經濟體,經貿實力僅次於美國、中國、日本、德國、法國及英國。

全球布局,歐美參展打頭陣

「台灣工藝實力名列世界前5名。」談起台灣工藝設計的創新,工藝中心主任許耿修充滿自信。正是因為台灣擁有紮實的工藝軟實力,泰國國際工藝創新展主辦單位3年前主動向我國邀約,工藝中心針對東南亞市場進行潛力評估後,今年正式組團參展。

「工藝根著於土地,與土壤、氣候及人民的生活方式息息相關。」許耿修點出工藝軟實力的養成要素。換言之,不論是工藝品的原料材質或製作技術,各國工藝各有特色,因而也產生差異,甚至高下之別。

「歐洲人很喜歡台灣竹,這是因為氣候和較高海拔種植環境,使得台灣竹的品質特別優良。」許耿修舉竹材為例,點出台灣竹藝先天的利基。

他表示,在竹藝領軍之下,台灣工藝在2000年左右開始行銷國際,第一站就進軍歐洲,前往法國巴黎、義大利米蘭,德國法蘭克福等文化、藝術與商務重鎮參展;今年也已排定加入德國柏林為歐洲拓商重點。

在美國參展方面,目前已到過賭城拉斯維加斯及邁阿密;美國市場尤其喜歡台灣的陶、瓷及金工藝品。

拓點亞洲,日、中市場當先鋒

針對東北亞市場,我國也已連續4年在日本東京舉辦的國際工藝展,今年下半年還將前往南韓,擴張在東北亞的版圖。

「跟日本工藝比,台灣工藝毫不遜色。」許耿修表示,日本民眾喜歡小巧精緻的設計,這也是日本工藝設計的強項,因此我國工藝業者特別精選小巧品項帶去東京參展,讓日本工藝專家大為驚艷,直呼「哇,你們怎麼也能做到這樣!」

這些巧緻的工藝品包括用金雕、銀雕做的耳環、項鍊、戒指,它們大多帶有包浩斯風格的極簡主義線條設計。

此外,琺瑯、瓷器等材質製成的食器、茶器,跟日本的茶道及飲食文化密不可分。「這些生活文化,台灣和日本是相通的,所以日本方面很能接受我們的設計概念。」許耿修說,這些都是台灣工藝產品銷日的優勢。

許耿修舉源於中國、在日本發揚光大的漆器工藝為例說,日據時期,在台中開設山中工藝美術漆器製作所、孕育台灣早期漆藝發展搖籃的日本漆藝大師山中公,於過世之前,立遺囑交代把漆藝創作捐給台灣,認為「唯有贈與台灣收藏,漆藝的生命才得以延續。」山中公過世後,為此來台採訪的NHK、富士電視台等日本媒體,對於台灣漆藝的發展也留下深刻的印象。

根據工藝中心的統計,台灣工藝業者赴日參展4年來,日本東京的接單金額從前3年的台幣三百多萬元,去年成長至台幣五百多萬元。

「亞洲另外一個主打市場在中國大陸。」許耿修表示,跟中國大陸相比,台灣工藝創新與產製實力「領先一大截」。「大陸2012年工藝銷售總值達6,000億人民幣,如此龐大的市場,值得我們的工藝業者努力打入。」

3年來,福建廈門、山東濟南和浙江東陽都有工藝中心率團參展的足跡,今年還將增加上海、杭州及西安3地。許耿修表示,前年第一次在廈門參展時,接單金額是台幣六千八百多萬元,去年第2度參展,接單金額高達台幣四億一千六百多萬元,足見台灣工藝品在大陸具有很強的市場競爭力。

「台灣工藝全球拓商,曼谷展是我們布局東南亞的前哨站。」台灣團隊今年3月首度前進東南亞,許耿修點出3月赴泰參展具的重要性。

進軍東南亞,推展台灣工藝生活美學

工藝中心遴選國內7家自創品牌公司,包括天晴設計、吉力科技、巷弄國際、凌晨工作室、鏨品文創、寶象陶瓷藝術坊,以及協助身心障礙者和二度就業中年婦女從事工藝生產的非營利組織財團法人水源地文教基金會,共組今年泰國國際工藝創新展「In Taiwan In Design」(潮台灣,潮設計)台灣館,一共展出50件MIT工藝精品,把「台灣工藝」當作國家品牌加以行銷。

許耿修表示,台灣館展出「生活食器」、「居家家飾」及「辦公小物」3項主題,呈現台灣工藝在傳統中追求創新,以及用工藝打造生活風格的美學特色。

在生活食器方面,天晴設計公司推出與台灣篆刻名家柯詩安合作設計的「喜器」,不論是以「奉茶」為題的茶具組,或由兩個瓷盤交疊構成的「雙圓盤」,以及以「囍」字圖章做成的筷架,都是篆刻藝術與工藝美學的結合。此外,由4個方形器皿組成的「豆福杯」,倒置時,造型猶如潔白光滑的豆腐,翻面則可當作茶杯或小菜碟,有著令人會心一笑的小確幸趣味。

鏨品文創則是展出一系列利用琺瑯材質設計製成的生活器皿。例如,以「湖光夜色」為名的茶倉、置物罐系列,運用琺瑯釉層層相疊的技術,呈現出氤氳繚繞的東方水墨意境。另外,近幾年從大型瓷器轉做小型精緻器皿的寶象陶瓷藝術坊,把深具民俗特色的提籃造型壺器和杯具,推介給東南亞的工藝品市場。

在居家家飾方面,凌晨工作室結合苗栗苑裡的藺草編織文化,展出以藺草編織做成的「啾啾」領結,質料輕柔且散發淡淡的藺草香氣,具有低調的時尚感。水源地文教基金會則盡情揮灑客家藍染技藝,參展作品包括藍染抱枕、桌巾、掛簾、壺墊等布料家飾。許耿修表示,東南亞國家也有藍染工藝,但原料質地與染色技藝皆不夠細膩,換句話說,台灣精緻藍染工藝進軍東南亞具有一定的優勢。

辦公室小物的展品,凸顯了竹、木兩大材質在台灣工藝中,占有重要地位。吉力科技開發竹藝美學,設計、製作質地軟中帶韌的竹節名片夾。此外吉力也把台灣竹「戴」上身,把輕盈、富有彈性、不易斷裂的竹皮,磨製成竹皮手環,上班族穿搭配戴,既酷炫又時尚。

與竹材相較,木料相對持重、沉穩。看準此一特點,巷弄國際展出木質紙鎮,跳脫傳統純粹針對功能效率的設計,把紙鎮從枯燥的「文具」提升至「文化」的私品味層次,讓辦公的氣氛回歸人性。再者,木質耳環、手環及戒指的設計,則以天然的木皮紋路,勾勒出木頭真實的表情。

許耿修表示,本次泰國展台灣館以「In Taiwan In Design」之名,所要分享的,就是經由設計所提煉出來的生活感動與價值,也就是「以營造生活氛圍,傳達台灣工藝之美。」。

今年起,從曼谷出發,時尚工藝,品味台灣,在東南亞也能看見。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Taiwanese Crafts Seeki ng New Markets in Southeast Asia

Sam Ju /photos courtesy of courtesy of NTCRI /tr. by Chris Nelson

For the cultural and creative industries to grow, they need to go international. In March, Taiwanese craft makers, led by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, took part in the 4th International Innovative Craft Fair in Bangkok. This is the industry’s first venture into expanding its market into Southeast Asia, following successes in Europe, America, Japan and mainland China.


The 4th International Innovative Craft Fair (IICF 2015), themed “Thailand–ASEAN & International Craft Connectivity,” was held March 19–22 at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre. It was the first time that Taiwan has taken part in this event. Going forward, Bangkok will continue to serve as a base for Taiwanese craft makers to seek business opportunities and expand their cultural influence in the Southeast Asian market.

ASEAN: A promising market

More than 30 countries participated at IICF 2015, up from around 20 at the first exhibition in 2012. Over the same period, the number of exhibiting companies grew from 181 to 300, and the visitor count increased from 7,000 to 20,000. Over these four years, both the crowds and the amount of business conducted have continued to grow year after year, proof positive that the economies of the Southeast Asian countries are rushing back to life. Development of crafts products and the crafts consumer market are quickly taking off, and are expected to continue rising.

Thanks to the careful planning of the Thai government, Bangkok has in recent years become a key city in Southeast Asia for exhibiting aesthetic designs and innovative products. The IICF, which started in 2012, played an important role in nurturing Thailand’s crafts design industry, and in building a platform that matches local businesses with international opportunities (especially with ASEAN countries). Taken together, the ten ASEAN countries comprise the world’s seventh largest economic body, behind the United States, mainland China, Japan, Germany, France and the UK. Their economic prowess should not be underestimated.

Western trade fairs lead global distribution

“Taiwan ranks among the top five countries in the world in terms of crafts,” remarks National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute director Hsu Keng-hsiu confidently on the topic of innovation in Taiwanese craft design. It is precisely because of Taiwan’s excellent soft power in this industry that the IICF organizers extended their invitation to Taiwanese craft makers three years ago. After evaluating the potential of the Southeast Asian market, the NTCRI assembled a group of exhibitors to participate this year.

“Crafts are rooted in the land. They are closely connected to the soil, the climate and people’s way of life,” says Hsu, noting the contributing factors of the soft power of crafts. That is to say, each country’s crafts are unique due to different raw materials and crafting techniques, and the quality varies greatly among them.

“Europeans love Taiwan bamboo. This is because the local climate and high-elevation growing areas impart an especially fine quality to Taiwan bamboo,” says Hsu. This represents an inherent advantage of Taiwan bamboo crafts.

According to Hsu, Taiwanese craft sales entered the international market around the year 2000, driven by bamboo crafts. They first entered Europe through exhibitions in cultural, artistic and commercial centers such as Paris, Milan and Frankfurt. This year, Berlin is slated to be added as a European base for further market ­expansion.

As for exhibitions in the US, Hsu mentions that Taiwanese crafts have already been shown in Las Vegas and Miami. The American market is particularly fond of Taiwanese pottery, porcelain and metal craft work.

Japan and mainland China as vanguards for Asia

For the Northeast Asian market, Taiwan has taken part in exhibitions in Tokyo for four years in a row, and in the second half of 2015 will seek to expand its Northeast Asian domain via South Korea.

“Taiwanese crafts are on par with Japanese crafts,” says Hsu, pointing out the Japanese fondness for small and exquisite designs. This being the strength of Japanese craft design, Taiwanese craft makers select such products for the exhibitions in Tokyo, including earrings, necklaces and rings fashioned of silver and gold, mostly designed with the extremely simple lines of the Bauhaus style.

Tableware and tea utensils made of porcelain and enamel-glaze pottery are an inseparable part of Japanese tea art and dining culture. “Taiwan and Japan are interlinked in this lifestyle culture, so Japan is very open to our design ideas,” says Hsu, explaining the suitability of these Taiwanese crafts for the Japanese market.

According to the NTCRI, orders from Tokyo grew from around NT$3 million three years ago to over NT$5 million last year thanks to Taiwanese craft makers exhibiting their products in Japan.

“Mainland China is another prime market in Asia,” says Hsu. “Craft sales there totaled RMB600 billion in 2012. Such a huge market is worthy of our craft makers’ effort.”

Over the past three years, Xia­men (in Fu­jian), Ji­nan (in Shan­dong) and Dong­yang (in Zhe­jiang) have all hosted exhibitions in which NTCRI-organized groups have taken part. This year, Shanghai, Hang­zhou and Xi’an will be added to the roster. According to Hsu, orders taken at their first exhibition in Xia­men in 2013 totaled over NT$68 million. The following year, this figure reached more than NT$416 million, underscoring the great market competitiveness of Taiwanese crafts in China.

“In our effort to expand Taiwanese crafts globally, the exhibition in Bangkok serves as our outpost for distribution in Southeast Asia,” says Hsu, pointing out the importance of the exhibition in Thailand this March.

Selling lifestyle crafts in Southeast Asia

The NTCRI selected seven Taiwanese brand companies to take part in IICF 2015, under the name “In Taiwan In Design.” Fifty fine Taiwan-made craft products, sold under the national brand “Taiwan Crafts,” were divided into three categories: tableware, home decorations, and office accessories.

In tableware, the company Afterain Design featured its CiCHi series, designed in collaboration with master seal carver Ko Shih-an. The Feng Cha teaware set, the Twins Dish made of two joined porcelain plates, and the chopstick rest with a double happiness symbol all incorporate the art of seal carving.

Zan Design presented a series of bowls decorated with enamel glaze. Among them is a series of tea jars and containers called Lake Scene. A glaze layering technique is employed to create a swirling ink-wash effect. And Bao ­Xiang Ceramic Art Studio, which recently transformed from a maker of large chinaware to producing small, fine bowls, introduced sets of basket-shaped teapots and cups with a strong rustic flavor to the Southeast Asian crafts market.

As for home decorations, the firm A.M. Ideas incorporates the rushwork tradition of Yuanli, Miaoli County, to fashion woven sedge bowties that give off a slight vegetal scent and emanate a low-key sense of fashion. And the Watersource Culture Foundation has delved into the art of Hakka indigo dyeing, showcasing such fabric products as indigo-dyed throw pillows, tablecloths, curtains and coasters. Says Hsu, indigo dyeing is also practiced in Southeast Asia, but the raw material quality and dyeing techniques are not as refined. Thus Taiwan’s fine indigo-dyed crafts are at a distinct advantage in the Southeast Asian market.

The importance of wood and bamboo in Taiwanese crafts can be seen in the office accessories exhibited. The company GTT Invent has developed a set of business card holders made of bamboo segments, retaining the aesthetic design and strong yet flexible properties of bamboo. In addition, the firm makes wearable items from Taiwan bamboo, sanding bamboo bark—lissome, flexible and resistant to cracking—into cool and fashionable bracelets that can be worn around the office.

Wood, however, is denser and sturdier than bamboo. Taking advantage of this trait, the design firm Moissue displayed wooden paperweights that break free from traditional simple and functional designs and elevate them from a boring office item to a level of cultured taste, adding a human touch to the office setting.

Hsu says that the name “In Taiwan In Design” used at the Thailand exhibition intends to convey the emotions and value of life distilled through design. In other words, it is “conveying the beauty of Taiwanese crafts by building up the atmosphere in which we live.”

In 2015, fashionable Taiwanese crafts will start being seen in Southeast Asia, radiating out from Bangkok.

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