Beneath the surface

Chiayi City uses Puzi River and Bazhang River originating from Central Mountain Range as natural boundaries. Its urban development is closely related to river systems. Rivers serve as an invisible axis in urban development. Under temporal, spatial, and event meanings, rivers also shape public spaces in Chiayi.


Public spaces are often regarded as a symbol in modernization, and also a witness to humans as social animals. American urbanist William H. Whyte has stated that, “public spaces are a substantial phenomenon that humans aim to create a social environment. They are channels that connect activities, nodes that transmit information, and platforms that share cultural events”.


For Taiwan Design Expo 2021, Chiayi Art Museum presents Beneath the surface. Six design teams revisit memories and spaces related to aquatic development, and explore visible and invisible spiritual and cultural symbols. As a result, they envision urban life in the future. Aquatic clues connect to undercurrents in history, culture, and memory. Fountain Circle is a spiritual token to people in Chiayi. Red-Hair Well is the oldest heritage site in the city. Since the Dutch East India Company built the well, it was a hotspot in the local society. After the major earthquake in 1906, Chiayi Park was relocated to a hill with a natural river. It subsequently influenced landscapes in the park. Chiayi Botanical Garden at the northeastern side is transformed from a rubber tree incubation field during the Japanese colonization period, to a leisure-oriented area in the city. The old timber pond for forestry on Alisan was a site for child play and fishing. Even though it was long gone, it was a testimony to forestry in Chiayi, as it stored timber and fragments of public life.


Designers look beyond those scenes people take for granted, and reimagine history and civilian life. Through different methods, they hope to inspire conversations, so people can learn about Chiayi and its essences. 




Participating Designers (by Chinese character order) UUUber、Hsiao-Lin Chi、Paul Gong、Gina Hsu、Chianglin Chang、Shikai Tseng 、iF+ 
吳柏翰 / 民製所
Visual Design: adj. everything
宮保睿 / 實踐大學工業設計系專技助理教授
徐景亭 / 東海醫院設計工作室創辦人
張家翎 / Messaging Leaving 創辦人
曾熙凱 / 實踐大學工業設計系專技助理教授 / studio shikai主理人




Supervisor: Ministry of Economic Affairs, Chiayi City Government, Ministry of Culture, Council of Agriculture, Ministry of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency
Organizer: Industrial Development Bureau, Chiayi City Cultural Affairs Bureau
Execution: Taiwan Design Research Institute, Taiwan Institute of Economic Research
Co-organizer: Agency of Corrections, Alisan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office