Design

Colorful Cabs Hit the Streets of Mumbai, Giving Young Artists Their Big Break

by Laura Feinstein

July 30, 2015
You and I” by Pranita Kocharekar.

Mumbai is crowded. 20 million people crowded to be exact, and to get them around has required an impressive 50,000-strong fleet of taxis. Recently, five of these automobiles received a makeover with the help of a few local designers and Taxi Fabric, a project that reupholsters old and boring taxi interiors and turns them into vibrant works of art. The brainchild of designer Sanket Avlani, Taxi Fabric aims to create a more uplifting passenger experience for the city's residents while also bringing exposure to local artists. According to the project's Kickstarter page, design “can often be taken for granted in India,” and opportunities for emerging creators can be few and far between. The project, which was originally self-funded by Avlani, offers the chance for under-the-rader makers to be seen by thousands of riders.

“Jungle Book” designed by Tasneem Amiruddin. 

Traditionally Mumbai taxi drivers are known for customizing their cars with flashy typography, adornments, and kitschy hangings. These new “revamped” taxis have proven to be very popular with both drivers and passengersproviding an interesting way to integrate modern design into everyday life. Each design also acts as an homage to the city, celebrating everything from the numerous dabbawallaswho make deliveries in colorful dabba carriersto Pranita Kocharekar’s “You & I” which features a dynamic, layered cityscape pattern. Taxi Fabric acts as the matchmaker between the designers and cab owners, offering to fund the collaboration and set the wheels in motion.

Number Game” by Sanket Avlani.

As Hyperallergic poignantly states, "The fabrics enliven the interiors, making taxis stand out for the drivers, and travelers can experience how design transforms even something as utilitarian as a seatcovering in a car."

“Cutting” by Gaurav Ogale.
“From a Taxi Window” designed by Lokesh Karekar

You can support Taxi Fabric on Kickstarter until August 11th.

All images courtesy Taxi Fabric.

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Colorful Cabs Hit the Streets of Mumbai, Giving Young Artists Their Big Break