Cafe Review: The Good Design Institute Cafe (好氏品牌研究室)

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It happened on a Thursday. Maybe. I was biking, on my way to the night-market, the boring, dull night-market that’s always been there (Shida, for your information). Suddenly, there it was. A gorgeous coffee shop, magically sprouted out of the an alley not two minutes from my house, that I’ve biked down hundreds of times before.

I skidded to a stop, ran in–and that’s how I discovered 好氏品牌研究室,  Good Design Institute. The space was opened this summer by a design firm based in Taipei & Beijing that has done some gorgeous work in interior design & product branding; you can see two examples of their work below; for Lan-Ting Tea & the UCCA Store, respectively. Check out that stunner of a space they designed! Sigh, if only I could re-create that gallery wall…

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So it’s no surprise that Good Design Institute pulled out all the stops when it came to their own brick-and-mortar venture; turning a dumpy old apartment unit (you can even see the original apartment doors, still intact!) into a breathtaking, and multi-functional space: It operates as a cafe serving tea, coffee & cakes (check out the iced tea we ordered -who doesn’t love a whole mess of glass beakers on the table and a wood-framed menu?)

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Good Design Institute also acts as a display space for a roster of artists and creatives from around the globe to set up pop-up shops to sell their work, with artists being sitched out every month or so.

When I first discovered Good Design Studio; it was like walking into a chic mad-scientist’s lair: mounted dried flowers, glass-domed plants & botanical prints galore. They also host talks & DIY events with the featured artists; they were recently promoting a Wednesday-night series where various artists and designers came to give presentations on their work.

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And of course, the benefit of being a cafe, event-space and is that you have your own in-house event flyer design team. Although I’d hardly call what the Good Design Studio produces flyers–that’s too lowly a work for the works of art they turn out, like so:

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In addition to the rotating exhibits, the firm also has its own curated collection of items for sale in the cafe. Like another beautiful lifestyle store in Taipei (ahem, VVG), the items are rather expensive and luxurious in the way that I don’t think anyone needs a strand of dried millet for 580NT, or a wooden toothbrush for 280NT. But hey, I’m not complaining over-much–all these knick-knacks contribute to the vibe. 

And I ended up loving the vibe so much that I booked Good Design Institute the very next week for the Airbnb “Voice of Taipei” event, and last week 25 or so bloggers gathered at the cafe to hear a presentation about Airbnb, have some goood coffee, and of course, coo over all the little details that make the cafe gorgeous: black piping along the walls! shining porcelain countertops! glass beakers & twisty coffee making machines!

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It’s a design oasis in an unexpected area: although the area around the Shida night-market is full of cafes, they’re typically at a lower price level and stuffed full of old furniture for that shabby-chic poor-hipster student look. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’ve yet to see something on the level of Good Design Studio.

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photos via Stephanie Hsu & Good Design Institute 

Good Design Institute (好氏品牌研究室)
Address: 1F No. 22 Lane 48 Wenzhou St. (台北市大安區溫州街48巷22號1樓)
Hours: 1:30pm-9:30 (not confirmed, call for details)
Phone: (02) 2362-0723
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