Wieden & Kennedy London has teamed up with one of its former employees on a scheme to raise the profile of design in India.
Taxi Fabric, launched by former W&K designer Sanket Avlani, focuses on fabrics designed for Mumbai taxis. Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are cultural icons but very little thought is given to the fabric used on taxi seats, with fabrics often functional and forgettable. Taxi Fabric endeavours to change this, with more unusual and innovative designs.
Supported with seed money from W&K London's Spore Fund (an internal creative bursary) and funds earned via Kickstarter, Avlani has returned to Mumbai to dedicate more time and resource to the project, which began while he was working at W&K.
Three designers from W&K have now collaborated with Taxi Fabric, creating designs (see slideshow above) called "Feel Rejuvenated," "Feel Curious" and "Feel Calm." The themes were developed after Q&A sessions with the drivers of the individual taxis: for example the driver of the "Feel Calm" rickshaw taxi had said that he wanted passengers to feel safe and that there was no danger inside.
Avlani said in a statement: "We started Taxi Fabric as a designer's platform; the reactions that it has received from taxi drivers and the passengers have displayed the ability of design as a medium of storytelling. Design has effectively also become a conversation starter between the passenger and the taxi driver. This collaboration with W&K London displays how design can connect people from across the globe."