December 11, 2008Our main purpose was really to visit The Red House when we went to Ximending. The historic red-brick octagonal building was easy to find since it sits just across the Ximen subway station. We walked past a group of street performer playing an ethnic jazz kind of music with a very lively up-tempo feeling.
The Red House compound was packed and occupied by numerous small booth vendors selling t-shirts and dry goods.
There was also a crowd of spectators gathered around outside the main entrance marveling over the superb pen-and-ink drawings. The woman did not seem to be bothered over the fact that a lot of people were watching her. The whole scene just dazzled the crowd and evoked a cozy artistic atmosphere.
The moment you enter the The Red House, it gives you a feeling dating back to Taipei hundred years ago. The old-style building ground floor has a small art exhibition space displaying theater-related images and old photographs. There were a huge group of teenagers just hanging out in the exhibition area. While some guests were just enjoying a cup of rich aromatic coffee at Paper Windmill Cafe, which has a traditional-style and a step back in time ambiance. The second floor houses the Playhouse stage with live performances.
Adjoining to the creative showroom and cafe are rows of novelty gift shops offering imported merchandise from Japan such as t-shirts, unique bags, trinkets and toys.
The Red House was built in 1908 and designed by a Japanese architect. This two-story unusual building was originally used as a public market, then a traditional performing arts as well as a theater. It has been a meeting point for Japanese, Chinese and Western cultures.
The Red House is located in Chengdu Road, in Taipei City's Wanhua District.