Taxi Fabric has made quite a name for itself over time, transforming the interiors of India’s iconic kaali-peelis into canvases for artists and designers to explore a myriad of themes upon the upholstery. Through an initiative by Sanket Alvani, upcoming artists are given a public platform to showcase their talents and create dynamic interior-designs surrounding a basic theme, Mumbai. The innovative and experimental designs have had us captivated as designers are given free reign to explore their imaginations and refashion regular seat covers. From their first rickshaw makeover by Sanusree Gomes, Pranita Kocharekar’s caricatures of Mumbai’s “busy people living busy lives in a busy city,” to Samya Arif’s designs representing Partition--Avlani’s creative endeavour has time and again captured the soul of Mumbai in the most visually dynamic manner.
The latest addition to Taxi Fabric’s creative catalogue is Auto Chaos by graphic designer and illustrator Aniruddh Meta. “I looked at architecture from a broader spectrum, using design elements that would transform the interiors into a kaleidoscopic, geometric world,” says Aniruddh about his designs. Prompted by the “organised chaos” that is life in Mumbai, he created a visual narrative using bold patterns, geometric lines and tiles drawing inspiration from India’s rich cultural history and traditional aesthetics.
“India’s a culturally colourful and diverse country--it has its inspiration knitted in its details. As a designer there’s plenty to look at and to dig deep...when we look back, we can see that art and design are deeply embedded in us--from ancient architecture to traditional textiles to beautiful intricate sculptures,” says Aniruddh. Using such stylistic techniques for ‘Auto Chaos’ he chose to a monochrome palette to draw emphasis to the unique intricate patterns that adorn the interiors of the rickshaw. In a city that plays host to a melting pot of cultures, sights, sounds and scents, and not to forget the glamour of Bollywood, Aniruddh feels Auto Chaos will fit right in along with everything else that is visually loud.
Although a blank canvas and the freedom to do whatever you want may sound easy, it often is quite a challenge, albeit a stimulating artistic experience. It seems this project in particular was an invigorating process for Aniruddh, as he says, “It was great! It’s definitely one of the most fun projects I’ve had the chance to be involved with. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work on a canvas as iconic as the Mumbai rickshaw.” But what stuck with him, he says, was the response a friend of Santosh, Auto Chaos’ driver, had when he saw the make-over the vehicle received; “his friend, another rickshaw driver, jokingly said ‘...pehle toh tu bail gaadi chalata tha, ab Taj Mahal ban gaya (you used to have a bullock cart for an auto, and now its been transformed into the Taj Mahal)!’ It was definitely the best reaction I could’ve asked for,” he recalls.
Scroll down to see photographs of Aniruddh Mehta’s stellar designs in Santosh’s new auto ‘chaos’ rickshaw.