What do you think about when you look to the future? Flying cars, teleportation and other amazing transport feats. Well, an architect in Japan is bringing the future of rail that bit closer. Last week, Kazuyo Sejima’s designs for Japan’s latest Red Arrow trains were unveiled. Since being released the designs for the high-speed commuter train have been marvelled by many, and their near invisible appearance have seen the train dubbed the ghost train. Sejima’s invisible train (pictured opposite) is another exciting step forward for the rail industry in Japan – a country in which aesthetic and quality are taken very seriously – and a nod towards the future.
Let your imagination run wild and you might come close to imagining how this train will look, it is designed to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. As discussed on the architectural design site Dezeen, Sejima’s train will have transparent and mirrored surfaces which will allow the train to do just this. Sejima claims the reflective surfaces that she has conceived have "never been seen before now", and will work by reflecting the landscapes through which the train travels, urban or rural.
As well as the exterior of the high-speed trains the architect has been asked to design the interiors. When asked about her plans for the insides of the futuristic ghost train, Sejima has said that she would like to give the trains a living room-like feel where passengers can feel comfortable and relaxed.
The designs for the Seibu Group’s new fleet of Red Arrow trains have been commissioned to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The trains are expected to be completed in 2018, and will run on the 180km of track between Tokyo and the Saitama Prefecture owned by the group. Sejima’s designs contrast with Seibu’s existing fleet, well known for their use of yellow and blue. Colour choices which were made to make the trains stand out from their surroundings.
The ghost trains parallel Sejima’s fluid design ethic, which co-exist with their environments, an ethic which the Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, is well known for. Chair of the Pritzker Prize, Lord Palumbo, has described Sejema’s approach to architecture as “simultaneously delicate and powerful." Indeed, it is this softness that drew Seibu to Sejima’s designs.
No doubt Seibu will be pleased with the amount of interest the designs for their new trains have generated. And looking to the future seems an apt way to celebrate 100 years of success! Japan's high-speed railways are among the best in the world, so it is little surprise that this forward thinking design would grace their railways first. Here at SmartRail World we can’t wait to see the designs bought to life.
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