First Co-working Space for Designers in Tainan, “Planett” Aims to Connect Foreigners and Locals

First Co-working Space for Designers in Tainan, “Planett” Aims to Connect Foreigners and Locals
Nös Chen at Planett. Photo Credit: Planett/Beyonder Times

If you are planning a long-stay travel to Taiwan to explore the local culture, where can you find a good place to stay? “Planett” in Tainan could be a good choice.

Located in the heart of Tainan, Planett doesn’t have an eye-catching sign. After you find the old building and its entrance, walk to the 3rd floor, and push the glass door open, a cozy home-like working space will appear in front of you. Providing both working and living spaces, Planett has been visited by young people from many different countries, mainly artists or designers. “We call them ‘aliens,’ who visit our planet!” said Nös Chen, founder of Planett, with a smile on her face. These “aliens” have come from countries including the US, Canada, France, Holland, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau and China.

Working at Plannet feels like working at home, but having many talents around you. Photo Credit: Plannet/Beyonder Times

Working at Planett feels like working at home, but having many talents around you. Photo Credit: Planett/Beyonder Times

The idea of creating Planett emerged when Nös was discussing with her friends renting and sharing a working studio. More possibilities appeared as they brainstormed further on how to make use of the space. “If I am going to travel and work around the world, can I find spaces where I would like to spend a few months living? Spaces that even make homebodies feel comfortable?”

The motivation for providing a space for international talents grew stronger and stronger in Nös’s mind. In 2014, a year after graduating from college, she decided to quit her job and start her own business.

In the beginning, Nös and her partners had a very limited budget and resources. They designed the interiors and painted the space on their own. To appeal to potential “aliens,” they promoted Planett via online co-working space platforms, and even asked their friends who were studying abroad to distribute posters for them. In the first ten months, Planett was operating at a loss.

So why Tainan? Wasn’t it more difficult to promote a co-working space for foreigners in Tainan compared with Taipei? Nös doesn’t agree. “People don’t lose interest in Iceland because there is Ireland. People don’t ignore Portugal only because there is Spain. Taipei and Tainan both have pros and cons. The needs for modern international businesses have always been changing, and the geographical limitations are changing accordingly as well.”

Partly because the number of foreign exchange students was increasing, Planett’s business started to grow. Since last summer (2015), more and more “aliens” landed on Planett, including Isaac Liang, who was previously introduced by Beyonder Times. In the process of interacting with these foreign designers and artists, Nös was able to review and further understand the strengths and weaknesses of the local industry.

Once, Nös brought the Dutch designer, Nienke Bongers, to YingGe, to look for factories that could make samples for Bongers’s handmade porcelain cups. She hoped to use various porcelain colors and different baking temperatures to create the effect of subtle liquid movements. Fortunately, they found an old factory to take on the challenge. Two weeks later, the sample delivered to Bongers was more than satisfactory.

“Taiwan owns sufficient resources of manufacturing and handicrafts. Many foreign designers and startups believe that this is a great advantage. They can efficiently find factories to make samples, work on material research, and test the market with low production thresholds,” said Nös.

The 4th floor is the living space for the "aliens", simple and cozy. Photo Credit: Plannet/Beyonder Times

The 4th floor is the living space for the “aliens", simple and cozy. Photo Credit: Planett/Beyonder Times

This year, Nös hopes to focus on exploring local design resources, especially of traditional craftsmanships, so that she will be able to play the role of connecting foreign designers with local traditional industries. She sees that the global industrial environment is changing, and more and more startups are looking for quality manufacturers. If Taiwan can make use of its friendliness, flexibility and high potential for technical development, a new positioning for Taiwan’s manufacturing industry is likely to happen.

Looking forward to the future of Planett, Nös believes by adopting the perspectives of people from various backgrounds and creating a more diverse environment, significant innovations will be more likely to occur in Tainan and Taiwan.


Nös Chen

Born in 1990, Co-founder of Planett. As an Industrial Design graduate, she likes to challenge different kinds of jobs relating to design and aesthetics. She sees herself as an “alien”, so she created the co-working space “Planett” to receive many other aliens like herself.

Beyonder Times has authorized publication of this article. The original text is published here.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White