HOW TO MAKE SPECIAL FRIENDS
This taxi is designed by Shruti Thakkar and coloured by the students of Mann, an institute for individuals with special needs. Through this piece of art, they would like to spread awareness that they can be a part of our society, just like us. They have listed a few points for us, that will help us in getting to know each other better and be friends!
When we started our collaboration with TEDxGateway, our intention was simple and clear – to redesign five taxi seat covers with a social message.
Four of these have already been launched. Our designers, through their striking designs, have helped spread awareness about road safety, discrimination against women, innovators who make educational toys for underprivileged children and the Indian Sign Language for the deaf and dumb.
And as we launch our final taxi in this series today, we’d like to take this moment to say that the experience so far has been an extremely satisfying one for us.
In our last taxi in this series, designer Shruti Thakkar has created ‘Special Dost’. She made her design interactive by leaving half of it devoid of colour, and let the students at Mann – school for the differently abled– fill in for her.
Images by Prashant Godbole
Speaking of her design Shruti says, “The route we have taken, comes from the insight that we got from the teachers at MANN; where we were introduced to the real life issues that the differently abled people face everyday. And what I’ve tried to do, and hopefully will succeed in, is to spread awareness about these issues by integrating them in my design.”
Shruti is a young, freelance designer who thinks she still has a long way to go before she gains expertise.
“I keep myself busy and dabble in industrial design, packaging, social media, installation art, and graphic design and illustration. It pays the bills for now, but I’ve always wanted to explore and learn new ways of communicating through design as a medium.”
She feels design still hasn’t reached the kind of social and financial stature that it should have in this country.
“We have always been a very design heavy culture, but over the years, form has had to give way to function. And for any growing and constantly evolving social landscape, aesthetics, design and art should be the cornerstones; especially in a country with the youngest workforce and a millennia worth of tradition.”
Shruti believes that Taxi Fabric, for her, has been a huge learning experience.
“The taxi which we chose is mostly used for school runs, which was a wonderful thing to happen because we got such an instant and unfiltered reaction from the kids, which made all the hard work worth it. This was a wonderful collaboration and I’ve learnt a lot in the process.”
Well, we’re sure Shruti’s differently coloured taxi fabric will enlighten people about the differently abled. And give them something to take home too.