W+K Design London
Olivia’s taxi design was inspired by the psychological role of colour and how this could counteract the busy environment of Mumbai. Vinayak, the driver mentioned he wanted an energising and refreshing environment where he could keep his head calm. Olivia found that combining particular hues with mindfulness techniques could encourage Vinayak and his passengers to take a moment to breath and clear their mind.
Olivia says “it was wonderful to immerse myself in understanding the cultural meaning and social benefits of colours that eventually lead me to create a colour wheel that inspires a sense of refreshment. I found that combining particular hues with mindfulness techniques could encourage Vinayak and his passengers to take a moment to breathe and clear their mind.”
Olivia explains the reasons behind the title of the design as “I chose the feeling rejuvenating because it sat well with the feedback from Vinayak. Two things he mentioned was that he often picks up patients from the local hospital and that his favourite place to drive to is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. I loved the idea of creating a space in the taxi where people could escape from the business and stress of the city and – much like how parks act in a city, making you feel refreshed and relaxed. For me rejuvenating encompasses that great feeling of being restored and energised.”
Colour symbolism can vary from country to country, it was a challenge to decide what colours would work best with India’s culture but still feel rejuvenating. Within this, the placement of the colour was also key getting the best effect for the driver and his passengers. Olivia also worked with Sanket on the messaging in the taxi, ensuring the translation would express her idea in a different language.
In terms of influence, some of Olivia’s research began by looking at the ancient coloured chakra system which originated in India. It was important for her to understand the cultural meaning behind colours for her idea to be relevant.
When Olivia started the project, she had the questionnaire Vinayak answered which was particularly helpful for Olivia in finding a starting point. In both conception and visual exploration, she found herself coming back to the pointers that Vinayak had given to help guide her design. It’s important to her that he feels happy in the taxi – “hope he likes it! “ she says.
Olivia studied graphic design at Kingston University London and graduated in 2014. She then worked for various studios and tried her hand at lots of different types of design roles. Overall, it built up her experience and confidence as a designer whilst making her determined to find a diverse role where being a designer can mean lots of things. Olivia currently works at Wieden+Kennedy London, a creative-driven advertising agency based in East London. She was excited when she was approached for the project. “I think one of the most enjoyable parts to this project was the research stage – as it was a pretty open brief, deciding where to start from was a good challenge.”
Olivia says the most difficult thing was probably designing for a 3D environment. It was important for her to create an immersive space but working out how that could work over each panel required her to think in a different way than she normally does.
Olivia says she would love to know more. “I'm familiar with the more traditional ornate style of Indian design but it would be great to be exposed to a more contemporary scene.”
Any advice to fellow designers? Olivia would advice them “to embrace things that get you out of your comfort zone as a designer as it is these things that you’ll learn the most from. Equally though, being true who you are and your interests is important to making the best work.”
Olivia feels very lucky to be involved with it the Taxi Fabric project. It forced her brain to work in an alternative way. It’s also great to get the chance to work on something with a social focus. She says “ the opportunity to design quite an intimate space for a person is awesome. It is thrilling to think about all the people who have got in these taxis and felt something because they were created by the Taxi Fabric project.”
Photographs by Rahul Vangani & Amey Kadam