Taxi Fabric

The Fizz goes for a ride in Mumbai and Delhi's incredible pattern-tastic taxis and rickshaws. All aboard!

BY DEE IVA

If you’ve caught a taxi in Mumbai or Delhi in the past year you might have noticed that the interiors have moved on from worn out plain leather, velveteen and traditional intricate illustrations. There’s now a whole new wave of Indian designers putting their stamp on India’s taxis, bringing a bright, fresh and contemporary vibe to your ride around town.

Based in Mumbai, Taxi Fabric was founded in 2015 by art director Sanket Avlani to form a platform for local designers to use symbols and stories from the city to create new designs for its fleet of taxis. Artful typography, Bollywood stars, Mumbai art deco architecture and heroic female figures are just some of the images that now adorn the interiors of both Mumbai and Delhi’s taxis. 

ABOVE: 'Bombay Deco' by Sarah Fotheringham and Maninder Singh of Safomasi is the result of a collaboration with Architectural Digest India and Taxi Fabric
ABOVE RIGHT: Taxi Fabric founder and curator Sanket Avlani

ABOVE FROM TOP: 'Pitter Patter' by Chithkala Ramesh references India's rainy season; Aniruddh Mehta's monochrome 'Auto Chaos' rickshaw designs; Under the influence of ultraviolet lighting with 'Nocturnal' by Aditi Dash

Each design is digitally printed on fabric and then applied to seating, doors and ceiling to create an immersive design experience. Whether you’re feeling the force of Chithkala Ramesh’s Indian monsoon,  or tripping out under Aditi Dash’s psychedelic UV installation, it’s one cab ride you won’t forget in a hurry. Unusually for a continent known for its searing colours, monochrome has also made its mark in striking geometric designs by Aniruddh Mehta, who used a mix of rhomboids, triangles, stripes and dots to create an optically stimulating architectural interior in one of Mumbai’s motorised rickshaws. To celebrate the fourth anniversary of Architectural Digest India, Mehta was one of four designers chosen by ADI to devise architecturally inspired interiors with Taxi Fabric.  

ABOVE FROM TOP: Inspirational female activists and freedom fighters are captured in 'Celebrating Women Leaders' by Kruttika Susarla; Taxi Fabric's first collection of textile designs for the home

Originally started as a Kickstarter campaign, Taxi Fabric is now branching out into textiles for the home, with colourful graphic fabrics suitable for upholstery and soft furnishings. Beautifully drawn, we're hoping to see them popping up around the globe in 2017. Keep your eyes peeled and watch this space…
taxifabric.org

Pictures: Architectural Digest India, Amey Kadam, Sanskar Sawant, Pulat Bhatnagar, Taxi Fabric

Are you a Design Tourist?

Design tourism is on the rise, with hordes of us hopping from one global fair to the next. So is the big draw the products, the pictures, the people or the parties?

BY DEE IVA

'We are all design tourists,' declared Tom Dixon at this year's Milan Furniture Fair. It was a term we'd never heard before but it has stuck in our minds ever since.

UK furniture and lighting whizz Dixon was referring to the hordes of design aficionados who flock to the major design fairs each year to see the new collections and product launches from around the world.

Most of these design devotees are buyers for retail brands, journalists, PRs, agents and designers themselves. Instead of returning home with pictures of the local sights and landmarks, hours are spent uploading photos of furniture, lighting, accessories, architecture and fresh talent to Instagram and Pinterest in a 21st-century version of sharing holiday snaps. So forget La Scala, ciao Salone del Mobile. Never mind the Mona Lisa, check out Maison et Objet. And who needs the Tower of London, when you've got the London Design Festival?

This endless round of snap-happy globetrotting also applies to the fashion industry. The second a new look sashays down the catwalk, whether in New York, Paris or Milan, it's snapped and shared on social media for all to see. It's increasingly true of the international art fair scene too, and food blogger-flocked restaurant and bar launches worldwide.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: The Cos X Hay floor in Cos Kensington, London; Tom Dixon's own limited-edition crash helmet; Sebastian Herkner's 'Salute' side tables for La Chance at designjunction 2015; Sculptural architecture in Dungeness, Kent; Jaime Hayon's witty ceramic birds for Bosa
ABOVE RIGHT: Tom Dixon announces 'We are all design tourists' in Milan

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Jaime Hayon's Instagrammable 'Monkey' side table for BD Barcelona Design at Salone del Mobile 2015; Milan revisits Memphis at the Milan Furniture Fair 2015; Artist Jim Lambie's graphic striped staircase at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015
BELOW: Rebekah Hutchinson's abstract wallpapers, New Designers 2015

It's a double-edged sword for designers, of course. On the one hand they want the world to know about their new collections, but many also fiercely try to guard their work from prying eyes, fearing copycat copyright rip-offs (we've all seen those paranoid 'no photos' signs on graduate design fair stands). But in our increasingly teched-up world it's almost a given that once something's out there it's being shared immediately. Our tip? Embrace social media, create your own hashtags, and trust that if your product is associated with you first, you should get the credit and ultimately reap the benefits.

Back in the day we would go on holiday, wait for our prints to be processed and then bore the pants off family and friends with out-of-focus, badly lit holiday pics. Now we're capturing our inspirations and sharing our snaps with the world, only this time around we're promoting what we've seen and disseminating that information in an instant, like passionate PRs.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: A dreamy installation of folded pink paper cranes at SeehoSu's Surry Hills showroom created with Sumu Design for August's Sydney Indesign 2015. 'Adnet' mirror by Jacques Adnet for Gubi; We fell for these bent-wire chairs by Gaurav Nanda for LA company Bend Goods at Darlinghurst showroom Own World during Sydney Indesign 

'I think everyone who takes in any form of culture when they travel could be deemed a design tourist', says Max Fraser, former Deputy Director of the London Design Festival and publisher of the London Design Guide. 'After all, it is the manmade anomalies of different places that draw our fascination, be they spectacular examples of ancient settlements, modern developments or small everyday details that are different from our own. At the core of our interest in these things is design and, indeed, we are fixated by the seemingly endless beauty of nature's design too.'

'But then there is the 'hardcore design tourist', a group within which I am included. We travel specifically to hunt out design in all its guises, coinciding our trips with major exhibitions or design festivals. We enjoy the inevitable socialising that comes with it. With travel so cheap and easy, more and more design tourists are traversing the world and cultural expectations in different cities are mounting. That said, design is my profession and when I'm on holiday I like to escape the manmade and sidestep cultural excursions altogether!'

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ABOVE: Design tourists caught in the act at SelgasCano's 2015 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London

But is it only people working in design and its associated industries who become design tourists (or should we say 'design hunters')? We don't think so. We're forever seeing excited design junkies snapping away at fairs, showrooms and events, obsessing about this new cushion or that new light in much the same way as One Direction's fans go gaga for their latest single. Some are selfie-seeking students, others silver-haired culture lovers, and almost all are party people, enjoying the accompanying launch cocktails or DJ tunes. This may or may not lead to an actual future purchase but what it does do is spread the word, bring the customer and the designer closer together, and create a buzz around the brand.

BELOW FROM LEFT: Patternity's stunning black and white installation at Somerset House during London Design Festival 2015; Lee Broom's pop-up The Department Store was the talk of the town at Milan this year

ABOVE: We could rabbit on for ages about the minimal 'Wireflow' pendants by Arik Levy for Vibia – a design highlight at Waterloo's PYD Building during August's Sydney Indesign fair, as seen at Koda Lighting's showroom

It helps that global design fairs are becoming more fun and interactive, taking over alternative spaces around town and opening their doors to the public. At 2015's Milan Furniture Fair in April there were outsize swing sets by Philippe Malouin for Caesarstone in a grand palazzo, Lee Broom invited us in to his pop-up department store and Tom Dixon did an after-party gig with his band Rough. Recently, at September's London Design Festival, Somerset House became an immersive installation where visitors were encouraged to interact with the designs on show.

Not everyone is happy with the design tourist label though. London online retailer Thorsten Van Elten is distinctly uncomfortable with it. 'Design tourist feels a bit like a dirty word to me, like someone in desperate need to be hanging out in the latest bar, café, restaurant or hotel. It's like the gentrification of tourism. To me it's one of those non-phrases like 'concept store' or 'boutique hotel''.

American writer Henry Miller once said, 'One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.' Here at DesignFizz, we're very happy to be design tourists. The shock of the new will continue to excite us and we'll keep on sharing our #FizzPicks with you on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (currently the medium for reporting on global design). That is, unless we can share a glass of fizz with you in person at the next fair in Cologne, Stockholm or Paris. See you there!

All photos by Dee Iva and Sophie Davies for DesignFizz; for more, check out our feed on Instagram

Kazuhito Takadoi

Minimal yet opulent, the craft pieces by UK-based Japanese talent Kazuhito Takadoi turn grass into art

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Kazuhito Takadoi isn’t a garden designer. He isn’t a horticulturist. Nor is he a florist. An art-loving plant enthusiast, Takadoi weaves, embroiders and sews blades of grass into paper and turns them into something very different. With an eye for combining elegant design with a fascination for plants, Takadoi tends to his allotment – and then tends to his craft.

‘I grew up on the outskirts of Nagoya in Japan, which at the time was still quite rural,’ says Takadoi. ‘My grandparents were keen gardeners, so I picked up my interest from them. From a very young age I knew that I wanted to do something creative connected with nature.’

ABOVE: 'Akari' (Light bubinga)
BELOW: 'Kyousei 2' (Symbiosis 2) 

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ABOVE: 'Oeda' (Bough)
BELOW: 'Shikaku' (Square)

Having studied horticulture in Japan and the US before relocating to the UK, Takadoi enrolled on an Art and Garden Design degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. ‘I remember visiting National Trust gardens on a trip to England when I was 17,’ he recalls. ‘I was fascinated by plants and always wanted to study here. It was perfect for me because it was a chance to learn about environmental art.’

Citing his influences as a cross between the formality of Japanese floral art and landscape artists such as the UK's Andy Goldsworthy, Takadoi turned his creative skills to paper. He began making sculptural Christmas cards for friends using natural materials he’d collected. ‘This was just a hobby for me,’ he explains. ‘But one day a gallery asked me if I would consider recreating a piece on a larger scale.’ 

In 2003, Takadoi set up his studio. Today, he uses hawthorn twigs with gold leaf and spiky grasses (grown and handpicked from his garden) to create circular compositions inspired by the woodlands surrounding his birthplace Nagoya. After the dried grass blades are sewn through the paper, they change colour subtly, mirroring seasonal shifts. Takadoi also enjoys playing with shadows and light in his works. ‘Experimentation for me is an ongoing process,’ he explains. ‘I am always on the lookout for a new material that I can incorporate into my work.’ He loves preserving nature and bringing it into the house. ‘Most of what I use are materials that would end up on the compost heap. I like to make something with them – and keep them forever.’
kazuhitotakadoi.com   jaggedart.com

Dungeness Ahoy!

The living room mixes British mid-century furniture such as this Guy Rogers sofa and armchairs with Mini Moderns designs

The living room mixes British mid-century furniture such as this Guy Rogers sofa and armchairs with Mini Moderns designs

How to channel the Dungeness spirit in a contemporary style? Step into the converted railway carriage beach house of Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire, the pattern-happy duo behind interiors brand Mini Moderns.

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Lighthouses, clapperboard cottages, sea cabbages and shingle shores... The raw beauty of Dungeness in Kent was the inspiration behind the Mini Moderns' 2014 ‘Hinterland’ range of wallpapers, fabrics and accessories, taking its cue from the evocative mood and hues of this slice of south-east English coastline. And a run-down railway carriage on the beach proved to be just the place to showcase its creators' colourful, quirkily retro collections.

A bolthole from the pair's live/work studio in south London, the lovingly converted carriage is the result of a fortuitous weekend in Rye, where day-trippers Keith and Mark first came across the unusual two-bed property for sale nearby. Late Victorian, it was put on the beach in the 1920s when the railway ceased to run. Drawn to the tremendous sense of calm and feeling of ‘otherness' that defines Dungeness, the designers were looking for a joint 'do-up' project and retreat. The original mismatched wood-clad interior has been revamped channelling a clean Scandinavian style, with warm woods and white paint making the compact space appear bigger and lighter. 

Bright, airy and simply furnished – the intimate dining area underneath the carriage's sky light

Bright, airy and simply furnished – the intimate dining area underneath the carriage's sky light

An IKEA 'Udden' kitchen is decorated with Mini Moderns kitchenalia and vintage finds. 'Because the entire house is wood clad,' says Keith, 'we went with stainless steel surfaces, which are reminiscent of a fishmonger’s preparation area'

An IKEA 'Udden' kitchen is decorated with Mini Moderns kitchenalia and vintage finds. 'Because the entire house is wood clad,' says Keith, 'we went with stainless steel surfaces, which are reminiscent of a fishmonger’s preparation area'

Keith (left) and Mark enjoy a cuppa care of their 'Whitby' mug

Keith (left) and Mark enjoy a cuppa care of their 'Whitby' mug

Embracing the expansive views, untameable landscape and poppies that flower in late spring, Mark and Keith let nature take centre stage. Their beach house rule is a blanket ban on internet and television. 'We don’t have WiFi. We don’t have TV. It is a total break,' says Mark. Keith adds: 'Dungeness is one of those places that feels very different. There is an amazing quality of light and you're in touch with the changing seasons. You have the sense of really getting away.'

Which means there is all the more time for socialising. Part of a busy creative scene, the area has always been a hub for fishermen and artists alike, and was once home to film director Derek Jarman. 'Dungeness is a place full of legends and myth and you very quickly become part of the storytelling thing,' says Mark. 'Everyone has a tale to tell.' And as stewards of the railway carriage, Keith and Mark's journey has just begun...
minimoderns.com

Pictures by Andrew Boyd andrewmboyd.com

Bedroom detail: An old garden sifter serves as a pretty nest for Kristian Vedel’s wooden bird and Dungeness keepsakes

Bedroom detail: An old garden sifter serves as a pretty nest for Kristian Vedel’s wooden bird and Dungeness keepsakes

Kitchen detail: The simple white, grey and wood palette allows injections of colour, pattern and fun, from Jonathan Adler animals to vintage glass and vinyl

Kitchen detail: The simple white, grey and wood palette allows injections of colour, pattern and fun, from Jonathan Adler animals to vintage glass and vinyl

Mark and Keith's 'MMG' floor lamp and 'Paisley Crescent' wallpaper deck out the study. A Swedish classic, the desk is part of the 'String Shelf 'by Nils Strinning

Mark and Keith's 'MMG' floor lamp and 'Paisley Crescent' wallpaper deck out the study. A Swedish classic, the desk is part of the 'String Shelf 'by Nils Strinning

The guest bedroom features the duo's signature 'Whitby' print wallpaper and cushions, plus brass masthead wall lights

The guest bedroom features the duo's signature 'Whitby' print wallpaper and cushions, plus brass masthead wall lights

In a funky geometric and G Plan scheme, the bedroom sports Mini Modern designs including the 'Backgammon' wallpaper, 'Zag' dhurrie and 'Pavilion' cushions

In a funky geometric and G Plan scheme, the bedroom sports Mini Modern designs including the 'Backgammon' wallpaper, 'Zag' dhurrie and 'Pavilion' cushions

ABOVE FROM LEFT:
'Cherries'
tea towel, £12
'Dungeness' wallpaper in Washed Denim, £50 per 52cm x 10m roll 
'Peggy' wallpaper in Mustard, £45 per 52cm x 10m roll 
Unbleached cotton tote, £5