Celebrating the Mumbai in Bombay

Our latest Taxi Fabric created in collaboration with The Bombay Canteen (TBC)  and Please See draws inspiration from the colour, the loudness, the words and the life of Mumbai, and everything that adds to the amchiness of the city.

It all started with Canteen Cocktails, an annual property of TBC.  ‘The idea of TBC is to take all things Indian and add our own spin to it. Over the years we’ve realised that Bombay is a huge inspiration for us in terms of design, whether it be of the space, of the food or any other project we take on. Two years ago we decided to take inspiration from different parts of Bombay and create interesting cocktail menus that would spark a conversation about cocktails. The first edition of Canteen Cocktails was informed by the Art Deco Architecture peppered around the city. For the second year, we wanted to dig deeper, and explore what really makes Mumbai so very Bombay. One idea that really stood out was the colloquial jargon you hear around every corner of the city, that is quintessential of the life here. That became our starting point for this edition of Canteen Cocktails,’ says Sameer, of TBC team.


Picking up words like Bantai, Thamba, Boss and Ikde Tikde, the folks over at Please See Design Studio started conceptualising the menu that would double up as a calendar. Each of these words became a name of a cocktail, and was imagined as an illustration in a neon colour palette reminiscent of the luminous circus posters found stuck to the walls of the winding gulleys of the city.

‘These are words caught between the bogeys of the local, words overheard at the daily macchi market, words that run the streets - words that become the lingo, and lingo that becomes the original soundtrack of Mumbai.’ The technicoloured illustrations were reimagined as a taxi fabric.

The artwork for Bantai - meaning a friend - was perfect for the backseat of the taxi, where so many stories unfold,  a place where friends and lovers meet and have conversations. Ikde Tikde, that translates to ‘here and there,’ came alive as a school of fish swimming around. The pattern that was placed on the ceiling hinted at the taxis itself going ikde tikde all around town, composing the city’s sound. Boss found itself on the drivers’ seat, as a nod to the man who’s not only the boss of the taxi, but also of the ever-bustling streets of Mumbai.

Taxi Fabric and TBC has one thing in common - they both celebrate the essence of the life in the city. The idea of the collaboration stemmed from that common ground.  ‘Taxis have been an undeniable part of Mumbai. The idea of breathing new life into it really resonates with us.  It is a very powerful way of introducing design into the life of a layman who might not know anything about it, or who doesn’t consciously understand the immense impact it has on a community or its culture. To take something like the kaali-peeli that has been around us forever and give it a facelift with endearing illustrations is bringing together the promise of the future while also the celebrating a force from the past,’ Sameer wraps up.


This Taxi Fabric project has been supported by The Bombay Canteen.