‘Train-Jacking’, vibrant colours & ‘orgametrics’ lead the way in rail design

There are many things influencing rail interior floorcoverings. From vehicle types and usage, resilient or textile choice, the use of entrance systems, branding, bespoke design solutions, as well as natural and contemporary influences affecting overall interior design and colour schemes.

resilient vs textile
Resilient VS. Textile floor coverings: Marmoleum FR, Coral FR, Flotex FR

Interior design to meet corporate branding
There is a need for design and colour flexibility within the floor covering offering. Be it a logo/design element or specific colourways to meet corporate design guidelines.

In addition there is often the desire to keep the full rail fleets looking similar whilst using different products during interim periods of product switch over.

Another strong trend within regional transport networks is the idea of creating locally inspired design concepts that differentiate vehicles within a region from those outside. This presents an exciting design opportunity for both interior and exterior to move away from traditional schemes.

montpellier train gaudi train
Montpellier concept design, France                 Gaudi inspired train, Catalonia, Spain

Interior/exterior branding
Exterior branded trains are becoming more common. This trend is still fairly rare with regards to interiors but within the rail sector there are good examples of concession branding either for retail or just advertising.

Starbucks-Wagen der SBB, aufgenommen am 12. November in Zürich. Verwendung SBB-Extern und -Intern, exkl. Werbung und Kampagnen. Foto & Copyright 2013:  François Gribi, Fotograf BR & ZHdK, CH - 3006 Bern
Switzerland’s ‘travelling’ Starbucks train

The best example is in Switzerland with Starbucks who managed to add their coffee shop branding to a train car. Other examples are coming from Japan where this takeover of a train car is called ‘train jacking’. This trend could easily spread making the sector an extension of retail in terms of opportunity as the line between transport and mobile retail gets blurred.

coca cola train exterior   coca cola train interior
Coca Cola Soundwave Express Train

Another key area of ‘in-transit’ promotion is chartering where independent privately owned rolling stock are hired by media advertising companies for brand/retail promotion campaigns. Usually short term these offer great opportunity for custom design in this sector.

Flexibility and space creation
Flexibility continues to be a key trend in the urban rail segment. Passenger numbers and the prospect of overcrowding drives innovation and design, with seating or standing being a key issue in maximising functionality of public transport interiors.

The priority of designers is therefore to combine clean, spacious design with the flexibility to accommodate baggage including bicycles and pushchairs. Different seat layouts are common in this segment, and overall interior colour schemes are less traditional.

Solutions are application based depending on vehicle usage/journey type distance/time.

Sustainable design theme
Materials /colours are the most fundamental aspects of designing transport interiors. The material sets the tone for the look and feel of the vehicle. Colours and textures play a great part in making the commute or journey a pleasurable experience.

Greys, blues and browns continue to be key colours used in interior rail design, being seen as ‘safe’ colours.

Another trend is for designs that give a more natural/ sustainable look and feel to the interior.

Flat woven upholstery and leather is replacing traditional moquette in many countries, but in general, colour schemes remain routed in tradition with few exceptions. Of note is France where a number of exciting new colour schemes are emerging.

The future
One of the strongest future trends is ‘Organic/ geometric’ or ‘Orgametric’ which sees a fusion of geometric machine design and inspiration from nature. This is emerging at all levels.

maglev concept train
Bombardier‘s Eco4 concept design for maglev train

Written by Jemma Masters, Marketing – International Key Accounts
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