W+K Design London
It is fascinating to think about the idea of transforming the feeling of a space into something completely different to its original nature. How to make people feel safe and calm in a half open rickshaw became the aim of the design. Xueling, who designed this taxi fabric, looked for the moment when she is the most calm and relaxed, which was whilst she was asleep. She tracked her sleep pattern and used this data to generate a unique calming pattern, combined with a use of soft gradient colours. The whole pattern runs throughout the interior of the rickshaw, creating an immersive space that provides a protective and relaxing travel experience.
Kuber, the taxi driver mentioned that he wants the passengers to feel safe and calm in his rickshaw. Xueling took this as a starting point, so the challenge was to turn a half open space into something quite immersive and relaxing. She started looking into calming patterns and the unique space and structure of rickshaws.
The driver said that he’d like his passengers to feel protected and safe in his rickshaw. Xueling found it’s fascinating to change the feeling of a space, and turn it into something completely different to its original nature. “Making people feel calm and relaxed in that space became the biggest challenge.”
Xueling says the hardest part was to create an immersive space that makes passengers feel calm within it, to think about how and why people feel calm. “In the early stages I spent a lot of time researching calming patterns and soothing colours, working out the best balance of pattern intensity and the most relaxing colour combination for this design. Also thinking in 3D and how the panels join up together was definitely a challenge as well. Especially as my design works across all of the panels, the rickshaw has a quite complicated structure so it took us a while to figure out the design in that 3D space.”
Xueling studied Branding Design in China, which offered her the skills and basic graphic thinking. She then came to London and studied Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art which she got to know other design-related disciplines and started looking into visual communication from slightly different perspectives. The challenge has always been using the right methods/ways and delivering the correct message to audience successfully through your work and talk (client-wise).
She was so excited when she was approached for the project, and she thought this is a great chance to design something in such a special format. “It is a great chance to design an immersive space to make people feel something.”
Xueling thinks India has a very strong culture and history of mindfulness and relaxation, which she wanted to nod to in her design. She says “the design is based on Kuber’s Q&A and what he’d like of the design to make people feel, provides us a starting point to think about the project from a driver’s point of view. I’d love to know more about the design in India, the Taxi Fabric project is great as I felt it combines the design thinking with traditional indian culture very well. It is also a platform for us from outside India to get to know more of the design in India!”
Xueling thought it was an amazing project and it’s great for her to be involved in. “Usually people don’t notice design, but this a great platform for the public to feel and experience design, also a special format for designs to play with.” She would advise fellow designers to “stay curious, always willing to try new things, take challenges and embrace failure.”
Photographs by Rahul Vangani & Amey Kadam