TOKYO – Japan’s love affair with trains continues to push the design envelope.
The innovative country is consistently light years ahead when it comes to high-speed rail, and its newest train is no exception.
Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Kazuyo Sejima, the Seibu 001 series, known as “Laview,” is a stunning creation.
The Seibu Railway commuter train, which went into service in Tokyo in March, has a reflective silver exterior designed to blend into the landscape as it travels across the city to the mountains.
Its huge, curved windows provide passengers with stunning panoramic views along the way.
Inside, Laview is kitted out with soft yellow chairs with an adjustable headrest and armrest table to “provide a relaxing living room-like feel.”
The soft lighting, which adjusts throughout the day, has been devised to generate a calming atmosphere for commuters.
Laview is the first train design from Sejima, who was tasked with coming up with a new “never seen before” concept that would set the tone for the railway company’s future creations.
“The most obvious difference is that the train can move to different places,” said Sejima in a statement.
“This train moves through the city to the mountains of Chichibu and I thought it would be nice for the train to be able to respond and blend into the surroundings in a soft way. Also, I wanted to make a train which feels like a living room where passengers can freely relax and feel motivated to ride.”
Almost every detail of Laview, which has eight cars and 422 seats, has been carefully thought out to allow commuters to feel at ease as the train hits speeds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour.
Even its name has a special meaning — the “l” stands for “luxurious living,” the “a” is for “speedy like an arrow,” and the “view” is pretty self-explanatory.
The aluminum paint used on the train’s exterior was developed specially for Seibu Railway.
Seibu Railway plans to replace all trains on the line between Ikebukuro in northwest Tokyo and Seibu Chichibu with Laview trains by the end of the year.