With less than one month to go in the online contest to select the new MTL Taxi stands, one candidate has captured the imagination of Montrealers, to the point of leaving even its closest competition trailing hopelessly in the dust. Barring an unexpected flood of last-minute support for its rivals, Berlin-based Sensid Studio’s proposal “Folium,” designed in collaboration with Québec’s Geneviève Trudel – Sensid Studio’s co-founders, Philipp Schaake and Thomas-Éric Béliveau, are in fact German and Québécois – will breeze easily past the finish line, and Montrealers will get to see their slick new taxi stands lining the streets before long.
At last count, Folium had amassed 1123 votes on the realisonsmontreal website, way ahead of its closest competition at 442. And it’s not hard to see why. Powered by solar panels and equipped to recharge future electric-powered taxis, the stands in the proposal by Trudel and Sensid Studio are also something the other candidates are not: practical and innovative, and all wrapped in a gorgeous and emblematic design which is set to become as iconic to Montreal as the Bixi bikes before it.
The main stand has a semi-reclining bench and a shelter which protects from the rain or snow, but without enclosing passengers claustrophobically or taking up the entire sidewalk. (By contrast, one of the more far-fetched candidates sought to build a monumental tunnel the length of the sidewalk…almost as if Montreal has TOO much pedestrian space as it is…) The main stand also comes with a phone to call a cab in the area, a taxi to the airport, larger format vehicles (like minivan taxis, always in short supply), or to signal emergencies. They can even be equipped to give the time, date and temperature, and provide maps and tourist information. Lined up behind the main stand are thigh-high recharging stations lining the curb, where taxis can linger and refuel, while across the sidewalk another row of equally stylish street lamps lights the way.
Trudel and Sensid have done a formidable job, and have seemingly thought of everything. The Folium taxi stands are commendable for doing precisely everything a taxi stand can and should do – but nothing more. It provides visibility, but doesn’t take over. It provides shelter and illumination, but without detracting from limited pedestrian space. It provides information, but without going overboard.
And it does it all with elegance, adding another dose of style to help fasten the unique visual identity of Montreal: UNESCO City of Design.
Voting continues until midnight on August 30 at www.realisonsmontreal.com/taxi, where readers can view photos and information on all five candidates.