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Thread: Grace Hill Marriage Centre, Taipei, Taiwan, August 2018

  1. #1
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    Default Grace Hill Marriage Centre, Taipei, Taiwan, August 2018


    1. The History
    Located in the of Neihu District of Taipei City, Grace Hill Wedding Complex, described by one blogger as a “crumbling post-apocalyptic, modernist, fairy-tale, concrete fortress” pretty much sums this place up. Grace Hill was set up in 2005 by the Taiwanese Zhǎngxng Wedding Company. Their tag line was the ‘House Wedding’ concept which took off in Japan a decade or so ago. The concept was based around a ceremony at a large, mansion-style place with scenic outdoor space where the couple have the run of the place. It was a reaction in Japan by the young, urban-dwelling Japanese couples to the conveyor-belt style wedding. The complex consisted of two large buildings where the wedding receptions were held, each with a large open room with a different design theme on each floor. In between, separated by walk-ways and water features was a beautifully designed ‘chapel’ on site which was one of the main reasons why people wanted to pay so much money to have their wedding here. For a period of time this was thee place to go if you were lucky enough to be able to make an appointment at one of the nation’s premiere wedding locations. With prices per table of between $NT18,000-23,000, a wedding ceremony at Grace Hill was ultimately only a dream location for most of Taipei’s young couples. It also became a popular filming spot for local television shows and music videos.



    In 2007, the bizarrely-named Japanese company ‘Dears Brain’ took over Grace Hill at a cost of NT80,000,000 (US$2.75m) as part of expanding out of their home market. They arranged to lease the land on which it stands from the previous owner. The agreement appeared to be working well as the Taiwanese ownership group wanted to reduce their involvement in everyday operations while the Japanese group wanted to diversify its business due to a low birth rate in Japan. From near on a decade there was a long line of young couples wanting their big day at this place.

    After a deterioration in the relationship between Dears Brain and the Zhǎngxng Wedding Co and ensuing legal battle over payments things went further downhill resulting in Zhǎngxng refusing to renew the lease in 2013. The closure, which appeared only as a notice on its official website caused a lot of speculation in the Taiwanese media. The official statement was extremely brief with the ‘official’ reason given for the closure that the lease had expired and that the Japanese company decided to pull out. Since the closure of Grace Hill, the property has been left in limbo as the land-owners seem to be only interested in leasing out the grounds to another management group. However, the high cost of rent, believed to be around NT$900,000 (US$30,000) per month, has scared-off any potential business ventures.

    To get a feel for just how plush this place used to be watch this bizarre video!


    2. The Explore
    Found this place thanks to the excellent and highly recommended ‘Only Forward’ blog (HERE) It was easy to find and easy to get to on the local bus network. It was also about as easy an explore you could find; a walk in from the street with everything open! That and its location in a busy urban area made this place feel a bit unreal. It was so modern, and only just a short period of time, very, very plush. Very different to the places I’m used to exploring and the previous two explores I’m done in Taipei. All that said, still an enjoyable use of an hour in the heat of the Taiwanese summer.

    3. The Pictures

    Welcome to Grace Hills!

    img9205 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    At first this doesn’t look that abandoned:

    img9157 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9199 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The centre-piece chapel:
    img9158 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    From the back with water feature:

    img9192 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Graffed and trashed:

    img9159 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9160 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9162 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9190 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Building to the right:

    img9164 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Trashed…

    img9166 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9170 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9167 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And full of rubbish:

    img9169 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A lone motorcycle helmet!

    img9172 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not a hill in sight and certainly no grace left…

    img9175 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    On to the building to the left:

    img9182 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9191 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9189 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Few hints of the place’s former usage:

    img9180 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9177 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9178 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And even more rubbish:

    img9181 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This was the grandest hall:

    img9183 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    With its one remaining chandelier:

    img9184 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And an un-smashed mirror!

    img9196 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9186 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9187 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Random stiletto and part of it’s former top-end PA system:

    img9188 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img9197 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And the weirdest thing I found!

    img9200 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Bye-bye Grace hill!

    img9203 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 15th Sep 18 at 20:07.

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, krela, Mearing, oldscrote, psykie, smiler
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  4. #2
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    Good that, great pics, I enjoyed it, Thanks Hughie,
    Smiler
    😁

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
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    There's nothing weird about the price of that brandy

    https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/h...+cognac+france
    To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain always a child....Cicero

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
  8. #4
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    [QUOTE=oldscrote;356112]There's nothing weird about the price of that brandy /QUOTE]

    One of the most, if not the most illegally copied package and contents in the 'collectors' drinks world. Given the location, this one is probably fake also!

    Once did a nice bit of work for the old British Transport Hotels group, analysing various old high end spirits via Gas Chromatography. Hope was to identify that 'one' complex chemical that changed basic ethyl alcohol into a wallet busting tot and then look for more modern/younger spirits that were similar in composition. Found plenty; but the money men failed to grasp what the decades stored in old sherry casks and the like did to the maturing spirit. No way GCS analysis could compete with the blender's expert pallet and 'old man time'. Still; it was nice to be able to drink the samples when I was finished, instead of emptying the samples down the drain as usually happened!
    Last edited by Dirus_Strictus; 16th Sep 18 at 14:10.

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD, oldscrote
  10. #5
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    A different wedding chapel from what we are used to seeing in this country. The brandy/cognac holder is a nice design.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  11. Thanks given by: HughieD
  12. #6
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    Some lovely modernist architecture there, loving it.

  13. Thanks given by: HughieD

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