Harry Potter writer JK Rowling would have rendered a new look for Hogwarts Express had she known of architect Kazuyo Sejima.
A Japanese designer who is known for unique glass concepts, Sejima is now designing a train for Japan that is almost invisible. Sejima was commissioned to design the train for the Seibu Group’s centennial. The train will be out by 2018.
Japan has always stayed ahead of other countries in train innovation.
When Sejima was first briefed about the project, Seibu officials told her that they wanted ‘a new limited express train like nothing seen before.’
Although Sejima has worked on remarkable projects like the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and Louvre-Lens in France, she found this concept out of the ordinary.
“This is, of course, my first foray into designing a limited express train. However, I think the biggest difference with standard architecture is that the train is able to travel to a variety of locations. The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu, to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently co-exist with this variety of scenery,” said Sejima in a press note.
Usually, people want to go on a train to reach a specific destination, but Japan’s invisible train is a destination in itself.
Seibu Railways, in its recent press note, said that it is working hard to provide a new model limited express train that will not only be enjoyable to ride, but also fun to watch as it blends into the scenery. The ride will also prove to be stress-free and it will fulfill the needs of different kinds of passengers, including those commuting to and from work and school as well as tourists.
“We want to not just design the shape and form of a means of transportation, but express a new value for the limited express that is created together through participation with everyone. We aim for a design that features spaces, atmosphere and appearance such that spending time on the limited express will itself be a destination goal,” reiterated Seibu in the press note.
Sejima will include semi-transparent and mirrored surfaces to help the train blend with the surrounding landscape.