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

IKEA x Ilse Crawford: The New Natural

IKEA's debut collaboration with British designer Ilse Crawford represents a trend towards natural, tactile materials in our increasingly virtual world. Shop this amazing homewares collection from August

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

'The more virtual our lives become, the more we crave the physical,' says acclaimed London-based designer and interior decorator Ilse Crawford. It's the sentiment that inspired her gorgeous new 'Sinnerlig' collection of furniture, lighting and tabletop pieces for Swedish homewares giant IKEA, which features natural, raw materials such as cork, glass, ceramic, cotton, seagrass and bamboo that feel as good as they look. Encompassing more than 30 pieces for the home, aimed at 'adding value to the experience of everyday living', the collection celebrates the beauty and tactility of raw materials and natural fibres, and the imperfections that arise in their production – part of a growing trend away from glossy surfaces and slick, ornate designs. It's also beautifully understated, subtle and minimal, allowing clear glass, smooth ceramic and touchy-feely cork to do the talking. Think simple, useful forms for quieter, more low-key interiors.

A made-up word, 'Sinnerlig' combines the Swedish terms for sensuous and heartfelt. Standout pieces include tables, benches and stools topped with thin layers of cork, outsize glass vases and hand-blown bottles, dark ceramic jugs, plates and planters, bamboo-lattice pendant lights, seagrass baskets and floor mats. Among the material mixes, it's the use of cork that is most striking, chosen for its eco-friendly qualities (see our 2014 cork trend for more on this sustainable star). Cork is renewable, durable, an acoustic softener, waterproof and easy to clean, and you'll see it here in light and dark tones on table and seat tops, lamp bases and as jar stoppers. Crawford's practice Studioilse embarked on research missions to Portugal, Poland, China and Vietnam to source suitable natural materials which would respond well to industrial production; the resulting range should prove a hit with eco warriors, architects and style fans alike.

TOP ROW FROM LEFT: Bamboo, cork and glass offer natural tactility
ABOVE FROM LEFT: Furniture spans day-beds, tables and stools 

'Sinnerlig' divides loosely into three areas; lounging, dining and working. Each group has a key piece at its heart – day-bed (very mid-century Scandi!), dining table or trestle table. The idea is that you can use them flexibly to fit in with the way you live, with neutral colours that complement any home. 'The range is quite low-key but we deliberately designed it like that,' says Crawford. 'It's not trying to compete with those fantastic icons of design. It's a different thing. They are helpful background pieces not showstoppers.'

Launched during February's Stockholm Design Week at the city's seductive Ett Hem hotel, also designed by Crawford, the range is due in shops from August. For a quiet collection, we reckon it's going to make a lot of noise...
ikea.com

IKEA's 'Sinnerlig' collection will be in global stores from August 2015. Check back with us for product names and prices nearer the launch.

Ilse Crawford portrait by Stef Bakker  studiobakker.nl

 

Boxing Clever at MADE.COM

Chloe Macintosh, co-founder and Creative Director of MADE.COM, talks to the Fizz about British design, future classics and how their new project, Unboxed, is turning our homes into online showrooms

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM 

Chloe Macintosh, Creative Director at MADE.COM

Chloe Macintosh, Creative Director at MADE.COM

MADE.COM burst onto the British design scene in 2010, determined to make modern design accessible to the masses. Four years on, 150 staff later and with a second office in Shanghai, this fast-track online furniture retailer is changing how we shop for our home – allowing us to buy online, so we can sidestep high street costs.
 
‘We wanted to revolutionise an industry that had been largely unchanged for decades,’ explains Chloe, originally from Paris, who studied as an architect before joining Foster + Partners. ‘Our passion to solve a problem – making great design affordable – and our lack of preconceptions and different backgrounds has enabled the business to respond to customer demand rather than conform to industry constraints.’
 
Pitching up at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair within four real-life apartments instead of taking up a conventional stand, this disruptive design house wants their products to be seen in customers’ own homes rather than a sterile showroom. Cue new social platform Made Unboxed.
 
'Unboxed is a social showroom that anyone can visit, at any time of day, to see who has bought from MADE.COM and how they've styled their pieces. We believe this is the future of retail. Forget the demise of the high street, it’s all about the revolution in your own street.'

ABOVE: A cool airy loft was a perfect setting for the
MADE collection at this year's Milan Furniture Fair. 
'Jonah' armchair, £399, 'Jonah' footstool, £159, 
'Merida' rug, £249, 'Houston' floor lamp, £119, 
'Sports Luxe Geo' cushion, £22, 'The Piggy Bag,
Multicolour'
, £79 (on mezzanine)
BELOW: The streamlined home of Helen Powell,
writer and blogger. 'Isis' rug, £299

HelenPowell_Made_073.jpg

At MADE.COM the customer really is king. 'We’re always listening out for what our customers want and they ultimately decide what we sell. We don’t make a product unless we know that there is demand. If they like it, we make it; if they don’t, we stop selling it. We have a fast-fashion approach, launching two collections a week and evolving with the market as quickly as we can.'

'The 'Fonteyn' dressing table (right) by Brit talent Steuart Padwick is a future design classic. We created it four years ago as I needed a small table to fit in my bay window. It’s perfectly compact and the tapered legs are inspired by a ballerina’s feet on point. It’s a real talking point and has become an iconic product for us.'

ABOVE RIGHT: 'Fonteyn' dressing table, £349

FROM LEFT: Monochrome magic: 'Graphix' desk, £149, in Helen Powell's stylish home office
Inside out: 'Bramante' dining table, £499 and 'Legend' café chairs, £149 per pair, add a continental touch to this bright and breezy extension belonging to photographers Giles Christopher and Abigail Cockroft

 

Chloe takes inspiration from London, her favourite city. 'The pool of talent is so stimulating and dynamic, which constantly challenges everyone to evolve. It is also totally diverse. In the MADE team, we hail from all over the world, speaking nearly 30 languages, and that brings real soul to what we do. There is something unique in the UK's desire not to conform but in a non-subversive way. London's art and design scene is very active, but it is also extremely democratic with events such as the London Design Festival (LDF) making design available to all. It’s important for a country's cultural growth to reach across all social strata, which the UK does particularly well.'

At September's LDF, there'll be lots of Unboxed-related fun, new collections and the announcement of the winner of MADE'S Emerging Talent Awards. 'Five finalists from recent degree shows are selected and customers vote for the winner,' says Chloe, 'We also have special guest collaborators coming up this autumn, but it’s all top secret right now!'.
made.com 

FROM LEFT: At home in Milan: 'Double Cross' dining table, £399 and bench, £229, 'Contrast' shelves, £379 and desk, £399, 'Boheme' floor lamp, £79; 'Camber' desk, £499, 'Kitsch' dining chairs, £59 per pair, 'Bowie' square floor lamp, £69, 'Merida' rug, as before, 'Houston' floor lamp, as before, 'Rodnik Shark Fin' chair, £449, 'Rodnik Band' rug, £249, 'The Piggy Bag, Rodnik Seagull' and 'Rodnik Octopus' £89, 'Bowie' square floor lamp, as before; 'Edelweiss' dining chair, £139 per pair, 'Boheme' table lamp, £29, 'Contrast' desk and shelves, as before