We live in an era of instant gratification and mass production, where large retail conglomerates and corporations like IKEA and Walmart have secured themselves as an essential part of all our lives. Every household is a perfect example: living rooms and bedrooms alike are filled with generic factory-produced furniture and accessories. While undeniably convenient and low-cost, these products lack a sense of craftsmanship and personality. However, there still exists places that offers products with more human ingenuity.
Firefly Studio is one of those places. Tucked away in Taipei’s Da’an district, it’s a boutique that only sells customized lights. The small storefront has a horizontal window facing the street that displays a few of the more recent creations. At the same time, a warm inviting glow seeps from the ornate wooden door, beckoning passersby into the store. Upon entering, visitors will most likely find the owner hunched over his desk, engrossed with one of his new creations, tinkering away.
The owner is the affable and down-to-earth Yang Kun Jin, a man who’s endlessly fascinated by lights and all things light-related. All of the lights being sold in the shop have been personally customized by him. Mr. Yang has created an extensive collection of ingeniously unorthodox lights through his meticulous approach of reconstructing discarded components, which he combines with an ever-growing collection of unexpected objects. His large stockpile of unusual curios ranges from vintage microscopes to camera tripods. Even various musical instruments like saxophones and trumpets can be spotted around the shop.
The inspiration for the name, Firefly Studio, is evident straight away. Countless lights, scattered throughout, illuminates the store in a soothing amber glow, like fireflies in the night. Chandeliers, lamps, pendant lights, and a multitude of other types of eccentric light fixtures fills out the space. Some dangle overhead, others occupy vacant spots on tabletops, and more are strewn about the room in what can be best described as organized chaos; the seemingly random arrangement feels exquisitely deliberate at the same time.
Mr Yang’s creations have garnered praise from all over the globe, tourists and locals alike regularly visit the store. Many customers from abroad that visit the boutique will often end up purchasing something and have it shipped back home. But browsing through the shop, it is all too easy to forget that you are in a store. There are no price tags on any of the items and no pushy up-selling salesmen. The atmosphere in the space is closer to that of an intimate art gallery rather than a typical store, offering consumers a much-needed refreshing change of pace. This place is definitely one worth checking out the next time you’re in Taipei.