A major challenge for up-and-coming designers and artists is finding a platform to showcase their work. In almost every bustling metropolis, taxis are the most convenient and omnipresent form of transportation. In Mumbai, an interesting concept has been melding these two seemingly disparate areas.
Taxi Fabric, a creative collaboration between designers Sanket Avlani, Mahak Malik, Nathalie Gordon and Girish Narayandass, partners taxi drivers with artists to remodel the interior of their cabs. It’s the epitome of win-win: the designers have a platform to show their work to potentially tens of thousands of people through what is essentially a mobile gallery, while the drivers get a beautified vehicle that stands out from the sea of competitors.
The idea for the project came from the team’s desire for design to be taken more seriously in India, a country where older generations might not appreciate the impact creative design can have, seeing it as something that merely performs a function. Wanting to bring exposure to the growing artistic community within their country, Taxi Fabric began a Kickstarter campaign in July to generate funds in order to help bring the work of 30 designers to life before Christmas. Their modest goal of £8,000 was swiftly surpassed, and they hit well over £11,000 in just 28 days. They immediately set to work rolling out the fabrics.
While the design brief is simple — tell your story of Mumbai — the artworks so far have been anything but. They have depicted everything from historic freedom fighters and life under the sea to childhood memories and the relationship between India and Pakistan, all in vibrant colours and one-of-a-kind patterns.
By continuously inviting designers and artists to submit proposals, the team aims to outfit one taxi a week until the end of the year with a concept that will remain in place for up to five months. The collaborative is excited about the conversations the artworks will spark between the drivers and their customers. And it is keen for art and design to be seen as something that can influence opinion, make a statement and, of course, simply be appreciated.