Taxi Fabric

  • Nathalie Gordon
1 X D&AD Impact award for Innovation 2016 | 1 X D&AD Impact award for Industry Evolution 2016 | 1 X Fast Company Innovation Award 2016
This project was about creating a space for designers to show off their ideas and talent, through the medium of taxi fabric.
Kaali Peeli cabs in India are the most convenient form of transport and a hugely iconic piece of Indian culture. Although much attention is given to each taxi by its driver - to make it stand out from his competitors - very little thought is given to the fabric used on the seats. The designs that cover the taxi seats are often functional and forgettable and with the outstanding design talent Mumbai has to offer, this shouldn’t be the case.
Design, as a profession is unfortunately not widely recognised in India with older generations believe it simply performs a function. With so few spaces for young people to show off their skills, it's hard to change that perception and show the impact it can and should make.
Myself and an Indian designer from W+K London, put two and two together and started connecting designers with taxi drivers- turning seat covers into canvas’ for emerging creative talent to show off their skills.
Through a Kickstarter campaign (below) we raised our initial goal of £8,000 in 18days (an average donation of £56). In the end, we raised just over 11k. The project was so successful that both Sanket and I had to leave London and head out to Mumbai straight away to action everything we had promised. The project has since grown so much over the last year that Sanket is still yet to come back. *sad face*
Since May 2015 we have designed, printed, stitched and fitted 55 Taxi Fabrics (including 12 auto-rickshaws). 5 designs have been designed with focus on 'social good' - these were made in conjunction with and supported by TEDx. A further 4 designs were made in response to a brief on Indian architecture from Architectural Digest India.
We've also had support from MTV, wetransfer and Instagram who recently uploaded a picture of one of our taxis to their 132million followers (the photo itself got over 1million likes!) Oh andGoogle India commissioned us to make 75 taxis for them, playing with their 'Ok Google' function, mixing textiles and technology for the first time in India.
Oh. And we also made a music video with Coldplay. Career highlight i'd say. Have a look below. Chris Martin travels across Mumbai in one of our Taxi Fabric cabs (designed by Samya Arif) throughout the video. Next level.