Have you ever wondered where in Taipei you can find a carefully curated selection of 1950s and 1960s books about art, design and architecture? If you have, then you are probably my soulmate. We could run off to Itis Edition (版語空間) together. It is a tiny store located near Liuzhangli MRT station (六張犁捷運站) that sells vintage books sourced from the US and UK by illustrator Yihsin Wu (吳怡欣). Last time I went, I saw catalogs from industrial design expos that took place in the mid-1960s, a book about dormitory design from around the same era and several volumes about illustrator Ben Shahn.
I profiled the store a couple of months ago (yes, I know I need to start blogging about my articles in a more timely fashion!) and had a lot of fun talking to Yihsin because she used to live in the same area of Astoria, Queens that I did. We even used to buy chicken rice from the same vendor in the parking lot of the C-Town near the Broadway station . Our conversation brought back a lot of happy memories (of food) for me.
Itis Edition also recently published a book about everyday objects commonly used in Taiwan, called Ordinary Beauty (普通美). Here are a few photos from it.
I love the above photo because it reminds me of one of my college admission essays. I wrote a silver soup ladle I’d seen in an exhibit of artifacts from Ancient Greece at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and how it had made me wonder about the people who had used it thousands of years ago (did they use it to serve soup at a glorious banquet or at an awkward family dinner with teenagers glowering across the table at their parents?).
Itis Edition is open from Thursdays to Saturdays and has a tiny staff (basically Yihsin and her husband), so make sure to call before you visit. It is at 293-1 Jiaxing St, Taipei City (台北市嘉興街293-1號), tel: (02) 2735-2251. For more information, please read my article or visit Itis Edition’s Web site.