Identified by their signature “yellow & black” colour, the old-school taxis on the streets of Mumbai city have been facing a tough competition not only from private companies offering sophisticated vehicles, but also from their counterparts with a more modern engine.
Mumbai’s “Fiat Taxi” is an iconic part of its culture. Wtih over 55,000 of them in Mumbai, drivers often seek innovative ways to make their cars stand out by decorating their glass windows with radium stickers or adding glowing lights. Some even try to attract customers with a hi-fi stereo system. But most of them pay very little attention to seat covers, which “are often functional and forgettable.”
A bunch of creative designers from Mumbai have teamed up to create the Taxi Fabric project, which aims at providing Indian designers with an unique platform to showcase their work using taxi seats as their canvas.
“We want to help Indian designers have their work not only be seen, but also allow them to connect with members of the public who up until now perhaps haven’t understood that design can tell stories and create emotions,” the team writes.
Through the project, the designers hope to initiate a conversation and inspire older generations to change their perception of design.
“Design, as a job or even simply something studied at school, is unfortunately not widely recognized in India. Older generations don’t understand it- design to them, just performs a function. Many people don’t know that design can create a real impact. With so few spaces for young people to show off their skills, it’s hard to change that perception.”
The Taxi Fabric project team has self-funded the designs and fittings of five taxis with themese which are mostly inspired by life in the city. Each design is featured in the interior of a taxi for four to five months, and can be seen by over 4,000 people. According to the project, “taxi drivers have commented that they believe their customers are not only engaging with them more, but most of them also ask them about their designs featured in their taxis.”
The Taxi Fabric interiors is vibrant and eye-catching, and a fantastic platform for young designers to express themselves creatively. The team is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to create a makeover for an additional 20 -25 cars featuring works of more designers.
With over 170 backers, the project has already raised GBP 8,867 (INR 8,86,146) of the pledged GBP 8,000. With another 7 days to go, the project will allow over 1,20,000 people living in Mumbai to experience the colorful cabs and become familiar with the works of designers.