taiwan series: eslite spectrum

a trip to taiwan isn't complete without a visit to eslite. i usually manage to leave the building with all kinds of stationery and japanese magazines that i didn't know i needed. hhh can't walk away without dozens of tiny notebooks. (this is my go-to store, in taichung.) eslite was founded in 1989, and has since become one of taiwan's most recognizable brands. in the last several years, it's expanded from a bookstore to much more, including department stores, art movie houses, performance venues and even a hotel. (and a friend just told me that they also have a thriving business in high-end commercial kitchens). last year, it launched eslite spectrum at the songshan cultural park in taipei. songshan cultural park is another one of these former SOE conversions, like huashan 1914 creative park. when we visited one weekend in december, the space was packed. 

 as we walked up from the street, the hotel was the first thing to catch my eye. i totally want to stay here next time we go to taipei. 

as we walked up from the street, the hotel was the first thing to catch my eye. i totally want to stay here next time we go to taipei. 

eslite spectrum is a design-focused department store. there is also the requisite food court in the basement, as well as whole floors devoted to local taiwanese-made goods ranging from textiles to housewares to teas and tasty local edibles.

 a coffee shop on the ground floor. 

a coffee shop on the ground floor. 

 designed home goods - mostly imported on the ground level. 

designed home goods - mostly imported on the ground level. 

 love these vases - look like  muuto ? 

love these vases - look like muuto

 matte black coffee pots.

matte black coffee pots.

 matching cappucino mugs.

matching cappucino mugs.

there is a lot to take in, including this random collection of taiwanese hipsters strumming away on one of the upper floors. i am not totally sure if this is a shop, performance art, or what. 

 it's an ethnographic glimpse into the life of taiwanese twenty-somethings! one of the hipsters glared at me as i took the photo. 

it's an ethnographic glimpse into the life of taiwanese twenty-somethings! one of the hipsters glared at me as i took the photo. 

there were a lot of japanese and european goods, including furniture, clothing, and more designed household objects. 

 a living room in the middle of the shop floor.

a living room in the middle of the shop floor.

 japanese wrapping cloths. 

japanese wrapping cloths. 

  takezasado  textiles.

takezasado textiles.

 fog linen work, one of my favorite brands.

fog linen work, one of my favorite brands.

 a simple japanese enamel and wood lunch box. 

a simple japanese enamel and wood lunch box. 

a section called the "expo" featured loads of taiwan-made and -designed goods. there were some really nice teas and cakes here for sale too. 

eslite-expo
 so cute! it says "full." 

so cute! it says "full." 

 indigo-dyed cloth fashioned into coasters, pencil cases, laptop bags, placemats.

indigo-dyed cloth fashioned into coasters, pencil cases, laptop bags, placemats.

we wrapped up the visit with a coffee stop in the basement food court. good times.

 a precarious mug. nice looking but not terribly practical.

a precarious mug. nice looking but not terribly practical.

 hhh couldn't figure out how to set his mug back into the saucer afterwards. 

hhh couldn't figure out how to set his mug back into the saucer afterwards.