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

The Taxi Fabric helps budding creatives make their city more beautiful while tranforming boring cars into works of art.

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 passengers, providing 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.

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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

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