Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are not only the most convenient form of transport but also are iconic to the city’s culture. Although a lot of 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 dull and forgettable.
On another note, design in India has always had limited scope and impact. It has never been widely recognised in India, as a medium of communication and social good. Older generations don’t understand it, design to them, is merely visual and not functional.
We put two and two together – turning taxi seat covers into canvases, thus creating a great outlet for our designers to channel their talent and enhance the everyday travel experience of thousands of locals. This platform has made contemporary design available to everyone.
Our process centres around the designers themselves. We fuel conversations between the designers and Taxi drivers, helping them to inform their design better. The relationships that develop and the stories that emerge are a source of inspiration.
As for the taxi drivers, news travels fast amongst the drivers. They come to us mostly because of the reaction of their passengers- some tip them more and some people will even choose to spend more time on their journey just to have more time looking at the designs. There's a lot of power in giving someone's livelihood a new lease of life in that way.
Each taxi is fitted with an identity label which tells anyone who rides in the taxi, the designer behind the Taxi Fabric, the story of the design and also how to get in contact with them for collaborations or commissions.
THE FIRST TAXI FABRICS
We have so far launched 36 Taxi Fabrics, which narrate stories ranging from our Indian Freedom-Fighters to Bollywood’s Heroes, from our dabbawallas in the day to the creatures of the night. From childhood memories at Juhu Chowpatty beach to those rare green spaces, bursting with flora and fauna, hidden throughout Mumbai. It’s simple, we tell local stories through a contemporary lens.
Each designer and Taxi Fabric is featured here with photos and interviews on each.