Young creatives are being celebrated at Taobao Maker Festival 2021! Once again, the festival’s sixth edition places the youth creators from the Taobao e-commerce platform at the forefront as they show off their innovative works to the public.
Last year’s festival was both a virtual and physical showcase in response to the pandemic. Patrons either experienced the exhibition in a virtual environment using their own 3D avatars, or attended roadshows around four key cities in mainland China for merchants to show off their creations with a travelling caravan.
For 2021, Taobao Maker Festival is again held as an offline bazaar and even ramped up with a gamified experience to give visitors a fresh way of exploring the products and stories of some of the most innovative merchants on Taobao.
Held from 17 to 25 July at the Shanghai International Exhibition Center, this year’s event is based on the theme of ‘The Lost Treasure’, with its aesthetics styled around Chinese anime (or Donghua) with fantasy elements.
The festival covers an area of 30,000 square meters, dubbed the ‘Treasure Chamber’, where many Taobao makers’ innovations are on show to the public at large. But this isn’t just a regular showcase. Visitors are treated to an immersive experience with the exhibition featuring interactable elements.
The main attraction this year is a treasure hunt-cum-escape room game featuring these fantasy Chinese anime motifs. Upon buying tickets for the exhibition, attendees will receive tasks to complete.
If you’ve had experience with escape room activities before, you’d know that they all have their own theme and story to tell. At Taobao Maker Festival’s version, one can imagine themselves journeying through a legendary ancient city that abounds with rare treasures – like the hundred-over novel innovations curated from Taobao.
Visitors can participate in the hunt for hidden gems alongside the merchants from the festival, who are role-playing as NPCs (non-player characters) to walk visitors through their product concepts and innovation journeys. The event theme of ‘The Lost Treasure’ itself is also a call for the public to unearth the creative spirit within every one of us.
Over 100 Taobao merchants are at this year’s festival to showcase what they have, with their exhibits beautifully set against the backdrop of a fantastical ancient Chinese city. It’s a special commission by the creative team behind the wildly popular Youku drama series, The Longest Day in Chang’an.
Taobao Maker Festival 2021 explores the futuristic concepts, quirky creations, and novel designs by youth creators over a wide variety of aspects.
One such aspect is that of wellness, as healthy living has been on the minds of many. Bao Ji Du Jiao Shou, a first-time Taobao Maker Festival exhibitor, is all too aware of this. Their brand was founded to develop light and healthy meals for people unable to find time to cook. Their newest food innovation is one that the festival attendees are able to experience as well.
That food creation is the low-calorie Konjac Burger, a burger that contains just 4.18 Kcal. But that isn’t the most remarkable thing about it. The company has also managed to develop the burger to have a transparent look to it, which is wholly unique and unlike any other burger.
But wellness isn’t limited to just us. Our furry companions also can join in with staying healthy. Exhibitor Yesoul specialises in home fitness equipment and has now expanded its catalogue to include pets as well.
Their Pet Treadmill is also on show at the festival, and the aim is to help pet owners whose fur kids are confined to the home due to lockdowns get exercise. Having the pets use the treadmill can burn off that excess energy and allow the four-legged companions to have better quality sleep, upping their quality of life.
Beyond wellness, technology is also something that interests the general population. Technology comes in all forms, and Taobao Maker Festival 2021 is keen to be the platform to highlight those from makers that are unlike what you can find right now.
One of them is Divoom, a company which specialises in audio equipment but is bringing something very different to the Taobao Maker Festival. Their Pixel Backpack is a unique creation, integrating RGB flexible pixel screens with a bag to act as a screen.
Through a mobile phone application, users can tweak and customise what the backpack’s screen will display. Additionally, the application will also allow users to interact and communicate with other people. It’s a product that is sure to turn a lot of heads.
Moving on to something truly futuristic, Xpeng Motors, an electric vehicles manufacturing maverick in the local market, have decided to make their second appearance at the festival. This time, to showcase a novel electric car that isn’t explicitly made for just driving.
Introducing the Voyager X2, Xpeng Motors’ rendition of an Electric Flying Car that looks straight out of a science-fiction movie. The vehicle, which carries two passengers at a time, has been made primarily from carbon fibre, and the entire car comes in at just 395 kg in total, battery included.
Even more impressive was their successful completion of a first-ever, human-crewed test flight just last month! Its presence at Taobao Maker Festival could encourage curious folks, especially as the company is looking for volunteers to experience the flying car.
Technology by itself is great, but it could produce something artful when marrying it with the traditional. That’s what Tuowu Design have done, as they present their Acrylic Mortise and Tenon Chair!
The traditional mortise and tenon technique is something that the Chinese have used with wood-based furniture. Tuowu Design has taken that concept and melded it with modern acrylic materials to produce an innovative combination.
The acrylic mortise and tenon chair, in particular, takes after the design sensibilities of traditional Chinese furniture, and it has created something that is unique in aesthetic yet evokes a sense of nostalgia for people.
These are just a few examples of what people can experience at the exhibition for the Taobao Maker Festival 2021. With so many innovative products and concepts on show, the fires of inspiration will undoubtedly be stoked within those with the creative mindset!
If any of the creations listed above have piqued your interest, you can keep up to date with the festival on the Alizila website.
This post was brought to you by Alibaba Group.
Photos courtesy of Alibaba Group, Bao Ji Du Jiao Shou, Yesoul, Divoom, Xpeng Motors, and Tuowu Design.