The Yang Chun Café

2 Apr 2016, 12:42 p.m. | Archive

Simple is best, like a ray of sunshine in spring — thoughts on the art of simplicity.

What is the difference between art and decoration?

I am currently working on a Taiwan edition of my traveller’s notebook (see the Amsterdam version here), and my research has focused on what makes Taiwan unique in food, fashion, living and entertainment.

Looking at food, I realised I am fascinated by the 1980s style plates and bowls. We had them at home when I was a kid, and you still see them in mom-and-pop food stalls: bowls and plates decorated with often somewhat naive drawings of flowers, sometimes in bold colour combinations. I’ll be honest, as a kid I thought these were lame. But as I looked at these plates in the last weeks, I found a new appreciation for them.

These drawings were not intended to be art. They were a decoration. You can almost hear what people were saying: “We don’t like a boring white plate, it must have a pattern on it. Let’s put some flowers there.” The drawings were created by average people without any aspirations of making art.

Yet when you take them all together, when you think about all the different plates that are used in households all over Taiwan, they do form a uniquely Taiwanese artwork. Created by lots of different people over time, you only recognise it when you take a step back and look at it all together.

When I look at these plates, I see them as an expression of the idea of 陽春 (Yáng Chūn).

Yáng Chūn is the idea that stuff doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it does what it is supposed to do. It is like using a 1990s Nokia instead of an iPhone. The Chinese characters mean “sun, bright” (陽) and “spring” (春). Simple is beautiful, all you need to be happy is a sunny day in spring!

When I look at these plates, that is what I see: a very Taiwanese willingness to be perfectly happy with something that isn’t perfect.

I wanted to create a plate design of my own that goes beyond the generic flowers that you normally see, so I used flowers that are very common in Taiwan: the Hibiscus, Morning Glory, Bougainvillea, Orange Jessamine and Orchid.

When I was done, I thought that there was more here. I love hanging out in Taiwanese coffee shops, but many of them are done in Japanese style, Scandinavian style, or something Western. You hardly ever encounter a Taiwanese-style café. So I was thinking: what if you use the pattern that I made and turn it into branding for a whole coffee shop? That would be fantastic!

Here you have it then: the branding of the (non-existent) Yáng Chūn Café.

I really hope that someone will feel inspired to open a coffee shop in this Taiwanese style. I would love to do the design, of course! (Contact my agent, haha!)


#陽春咖啡館
藝術創作與裝飾主義的分界究竟是什麼?
目前我正在著手進行台灣版的旅遊筆記本(延伸閱讀阿姆斯特丹版),以食,衣,住,行,等各面向在研究台灣的特色;現在研究到“食”的部分,發現自己深深的被80-90年代的碗盤吸引;大多數的臺灣人家中都有著那樣略帶著俗氣的花邊碗盤,甚至在街邊巷口的小吃攤販至今也仍然可見;而碗盤上所點綴著的圖樣,皆不是出自名家手筆,一定總帶著強烈的對比顏色配置,說實在話,我以前總是覺得它們俗氣到極點,但再看仔細點後,卻看見了屬於臺灣特有的美學思維。
這些盤子上的花邊圖像,並不是以被創作成藝術品為目的.對大說數的台灣人而言,它們只是種純粹的裝飾;我們總能從爸媽那輩聽到,他們多麼不喜歡無聊的大白盤,非要有點圖樣在上面,最好是什麼紅花綠葉之類的;而生產這類碗盤的製造商們也多半不是從事藝術創作為主的吧?我想。
神奇的事.當你把那些帶著各種花邊圖樣的碗盤,放在一塊之後;你不禁會思考著,全台灣每家每戶幾乎都有著像是這樣的碗盤,其實默默的形塑出一種屬於臺灣特有的普普藝術,我們活在裡面,卻好像從未正眼好好得欣賞它們。

對我而言,當我看著那些碗盤,卻讓我想到了來碗陽春麵的生活哲學。

"陽春"表達的不是高檔奢華,而是種堪用的概念,就像是手裡拿著 諾基亞智障手機,而不是蘋果的高端智慧型SE;以單字作解釋, “陽”_代表的是太陽,光亮, “春”_代表的春天,生氣盎然; “陽春”若用表達生活,應該呈現的畫面,是簡單的生活,有溫暖陽光,和春意盎然的意境。真的就像靈光乍現一樣,陽春與臺式碗盤間的關聯,似乎就在表達著臺灣人樂觀,敢拼,但又隨遇而安的國民精神!
所以我想結合這樣的概念,讓盤花能更深切地表達出臺灣的美麗,不單只是裝飾性的花朵,必須是開片全臺的那幾種:扶桑花,牽牛花,九重葛,七里香,還有出口美國最大宗的蘭花。
當我把上述那幾種花重新畫過成盤飾的圖樣後,我覺得應該不僅如此;於是我想到,台灣到處都是咖啡店,日式,歐式,不計其數,但臺式的咖啡店,卻了了無幾。於是我在這次的創作做了這樣的提案,若是能將我創作的臺式盤花圖樣,變成一間咖啡店的視覺包裝,那該有多好!
下面你將會看到一間_不存在的咖啡店_陽春咖啡館
這雖然是個拋磚引玉的臺式咖啡店提案,但我真心的希望能遇到有志一同的臺灣人,願意開這樣的咖啡店,來宣傳臺灣的美好。有興趣的合作的人,請洽我的(經理人兼老公_米卡(哈哈)

______ Reference & Research

Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new