Taxis are the new platform for artists to unleash their creativity, which is leaving passengers awestruck and making their rides an experience to cherish.
Just imagine this scene. You hire a black and yellow taxi in Mumbai and on entering it, it feels like you’ve entered another land, literally! It could be the preindependence era, a geometric world, the Mumbai chowpatty or a Christmas party in which you feel transported to! As you snap back to the present, you realise its the extraordinary design on the interiors of the vehicle that made you feel so.
Welcome to the world of themed taxis of Mumbai that are catching attention with their bright and colourful concept interiors created by various designers. Initiated as a project by Taxi Fabric, an organisation that aims at creating a space for designers to showcase their ideas and talent through the medium of Taxi Fabric, this trend in taxis is creating waves around the globe.
Mumbai received its first fleet of taxis in 1911 and since then these taxis have become the lifeline of the bustling metropolis. With competition getting tougher in the market, today’s taxi drivers are trying hard to make their vehicles stand out. That’s how the idea of Taxi Fabric came about. The thought was simple, to draw attention to the fabric used on the seats of the cab. The project has transformed taxis in Mumbai and also a few auto rickshaws in India’s capital, New Delhi. The concept has not only revamped the look of the taxis but also enhanced the experience of travellers.
The artistic makeover
After the ceilings, door panels and seat covers of the cabs are fitted with the themed fabric, textured faux leather is hung alongside the rear-view mirrors. Neon lights and fibre portraits are fitted for an added effect. The design themes are a fragment of the designers’ imagination and depict subjects right from history to Bollywood to Mumbai’s local scenes and more. The theme ‘To Bollywood, with love’ portrays the glamorous journey of Bollywood through hand-painted movie posters. Memorable scenes from movies like Sholay, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti, etc., adorn the taxis. A closer look at the interiors reveals the designer’s label that is affixed in some obscure corner.
Getting more creative
The designs are also inspired by Victorian, Gothic, Indo-Saracenic and art deco style reflecting Mumbai’s diverse architecture.
Mumbai’s fashion has also found space on the fabric of the taxis. Depictions of stylish apparels ranging from capes to lungis can be seen. Another interesting design is, Mumbai’s popular buildings broken into geometric polygons placed against the classic architecture.
Now Designer auto rickshaws too!
Taxi fabric has also paved its way through the streets of India’s capital, New Delhi. Delhi’s first designer auto rickshaw was inspired by the rich heritage of the Mughals. The design portrays UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun Tomb, amidst a starry night and is designed by Nasheet Shadani. Another designer, Kruttika Susarla, who has also designed the interiors of an auto rickshaw in the capital with the theme ‘Celebrating Women Leaders’, adds, “Theme is the most important part of the entire process. So, a lot of time is spent conceptualising it before finalising the design.”
This art work has captured the attention of celebrities too. For example, designs of artist Samya Arfi have been featured in the popular international rock band, Coldplay’s album Hymn for the Weekend.
The boring rides in Mumbai’s taxis have suddenly got interesting and more and more people are now looking forward to commuting in these pretty looking vehicles. This is encouraging Taxi Fabric to now contemplate revamping of buses, trains and subways and is inviting designers from world over for the purpose.
Written By: Kritika Dhawan
Images: Taxi fabric