Did you think Japanese trains couldn’t get any cooler? Think again.

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Minimalist train design by architect Kazuyo Sejima

Tokyo:

Japanese trains are already a source of wonder, for their speed, punctuality and cleanliness. But a Japanese architect is trying to take them to the next level by creating almost invisible trains.

The Seibu Railway Company, which operates trains connecting the western and northern parts of Tokyo, asked Kazuyo Sejima, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, renowned for its modernist glass buildings, to come up with a train design “like never before seen previously”.

The most famous buildings in Sejima include the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and the Louvre-Lens in France.

But she had never designed a train before.

“I think the biggest difference from the standard architecture is that the train is able to travel to a variety of places,” Sejima said when Seibu unveiled the plans. “The limited express travels through a variety of different landscapes, from the Chichibu mountains to central Tokyo, and I thought it would be nice if the train could smoothly coexist with this variety of landscapes.”

Since commuters will be taking the train, she wanted to make it a relaxing and comfortable place like a living room, “so they say ‘I can’t wait to get back on this train’.”

Like the buildings in Sejima, the design is minimalist.

The Asahi Shimbun reported that the trains were designed with a concept of “blending smoothly” with the scenery, and would be round in shape and would have a simple coating without any pattern.

The Seibu company aimed to express “smoothness and softness” rather than “sharpness or freshness” with its trains and wanted to create a space for relaxation, the Sankei newspaper added.

Seibu plans to expand the seating space and enlarge the windows, in anticipation of an increase in the number of tourists, the business newspaper Nikkei reported. The company has not announced how much the new trains, which will be manufactured by Hitachi, will cost, but Nikkei estimates the company will invest around $ 90 million in the new trains.

Seibu wants 56 cars, in aluminum, for seven trains that will enter service in 2018.

The company has previously worked with another famous designer – Kengo Kuma, architect of a new national stadium under construction for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Its dining cars, dubbed “52 seats of happiness”, are due to debut on Sunday. The four coaches will feature Japanese washi paper and wood on the ceilings and will have seasonal scenes outside, the Japan Times reported.

© 2016 The Washington Post

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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