Wondering what the train of the future would look like? If architect Kazuyo Sejima has her way, we could soon be travelling in near-invisible trains, with super-reflective exteriors that blend seamlessly into the surroundings. What’s more, Seibu Group, the Japanese company that commissioned Sejima to create the design, is actually gearing to bring the rather unusual vision to life.
Developed for the company’s 100th anniversary, the incredibly innovative design aims to transform the commuter’s experience by completely eliminating the drudgery associated with travelling in trains. Instead, the goal was to make the carriages feel more like “living rooms” than cold metal boxes, thus allowing passengers to sit back and relax.
A world-renowned Pritzker Prize laureate, Sejima was entrusted with the task of redesigning the interior as well as the exterior of Seibu’s Red Arrow commuter train. According to the initial renderings, the train will feature semi-transparent and glossy mirrored surfaces, which would in turn create the illusion of invisibility.
As revealed by its spokesperson, Seibu is currently building a limited number of trains based on Sejima’s remarkably ingenious design. Once completed, they will go into service in Japan no later than 2018. Unique for their ability to “blend into the landscape”, these invisible trains are intended to contrast with the company’s existing Red Arrow series, featuring brightly-colored stripes that help them stand out from their surroundings.
Seibu Railways, a subsidiary of Seibu Group, operates over 180 km of rail networks across Saitama Prefecture and the country’s capital city, Tokyo.