From Norway to Bombay

Norwegian Anja Sofie Haugen is part of the Taxi Fabric project, creating gorgeous interior for taxis in India

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.

The Taxi Fabric project, crowd-funded through Kickstarter, puts two and two together – turning taxi seat covers into canvases, thus creating a great outlet for designers to channel their talent and enhance the everyday travel experience of thousands of locals. This platform has made contemporary design available to everyone.

Bringing Norway to Bombay

One of the designers participating in the project is Norwegian illustrator Anja Sofie Haugen from Involve Advertising, Norway. She made it her goal to bring Norway and India together in one taxi, revealing the dissimilarities between the two countries in their bare, beautiful forms. Here, the cold meets the warm. The pale hues of the icy mountains meets a land rich with colours. And the Northern Lights meet the Gateway of India.

- We wanted to put a nordic background to the colourful and vibrant Indian culture, says Espen Johnsen of Involve, a communications agency from Norway.

The breathtaking Northern Lights of Norway dance across the ceiling, while star signs in the form of animals are dotted across the lit sky. Polar bears and reindeers are among the few animals deconstructed into sharp-edged geometric shapes, matching the ruggedness of the landscape.

- We’ve chosen nordic animals that represent the rough and cold Nordic environment, adds Anja Sofie Haugen, the illustrator from Involve.

- At the same time they are dressed in the vibrant colours of India.

The true Mumbai feeling
Having never visited India previously, Espen and Anja had to rely on their imagination to conjure up a sufficient amount of ‘Mumbai feeling’ in the design. That was the biggest challenge they faced.

- It was fun to challenge ourselves in a city and culture that we knew too little about. The beautiful vibrant colours, different culture and architecture, landscape – and of course the people inspired me, Espen says.

The design also utilizes famous architecture of Mumbai in the taxi, including the Gateway of India. These structures have been doused in vibrant colours to give it an ‘Indian feel’.

Eye-opening experience
For the Norwegians, the Taxi Fabric project has shed some light on contemporary design in India. Roaming the streets of Mumbai, this taxi will now open eyes to the design culture of another country altogether.

And so, despite being poles apart, Norway and India have come together to celebrate each of their unique cultures. With its radiant monuments in the forefront and a brilliant blue rugged terrain receding into the background, this taxi dazzles the eyes of onlookers. As Espen rightly puts it, “Stay inspired. The world is full of beauty!”.

The Taxi Fabric project has now helped re-design 36 cabs on the streets of India.
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