Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Completion date: 2004
Pae White Studio
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Dimensions: 6′ x 54′ .125″
Representing the first permanent art project for a Metro vehicle/bus, the seat fabric installed in the Articulated and 45’ Compo buses has been designed by Beep’Inc., the collaborative team of artist Pae White and architect Tom Marble. The buses are the newest and most futuristic designs added to the Metro fleet and currently serve the Metro Orange Line and Metro Rapid. Future buses may appear on new Metro Express lines and some Metro Local lines. This project received significant Section 5307 implementation funds (Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant).
The seat fabric design weaves together symbols derived from transit passes of the past (especially the 1930’s and 1940’s) and is designed to deter vandalism. Beep’ Inc. was originally selected to join the Metro Rapid design team and participate in the design development of this new service. As part of this broader project they chose to transform the customer environment by the design of vibrantly colored and cushioned seats.
In the Demonstation Art Program for the Metro Rapid Bus, Beep’Inc. (artist Pae White and architect Tom Marble) drew from the serial nature of bus travel to tell a story. First we surveyed the tickets for symbols contained therein that intrigued us, then we created a story dividing it into 47 scenes corresponding to the number of bus stops, and assigned a symbol taken from the historic tickets to each stop. We then transformed the 47 scenes into vignettes, tales of each stop that link together to form the larger narrative.
The vignettes were realized in two places: in the fabric of the bus seats using abstracted symbols from selected vignettes; and in the advertising car-cards within the buses where each vignette and corresponding symbol came together to create a serial story.
The demonstration art program was completed in 2003. The seat fabric gained a second life, filling hundreds of LACMTA Metro Rapid and Local buses to this day.