In this edition of Different By Design, we survey some of the world’s most interesting subway stations.
Subways and their stations are of course designed as tools of efficiency to keep cities and citizens moving throughout the day. Most stations in Toronto (with the exception of Museum and Pioneer Village) share the TTC’s 1960’s utilitarian aesthetic that would never be accused of being beautifully designed. On the other end of the spectrum, stations in Stockolm, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Naples, and even Pyongang burst with art, colour, texture and opulence.
Stockolm T-Centralen (shown above) and Solna (below) highlight a network of stations that are sometimes referred to as the world’s longest art gallery where more than 90 of the network’s 100 stations are eclectically designed with sculptures, rock formations, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 different artists.
For the most ornate designs, one must visit Russia where both Moscow (Komsomolskaya Station, below first) and St. Petersburg (Avtovo Station, below second) compete for who is home to the most decadent designs.
Paris is home to the Arts Et Metiers Metro Station (below) at the Musee des Arts et Metiers (Arts and Trades Museum) that was designed in a steam punk style that pays homage to the genius of Jules Verne where one can feel like they are actually inside the machine.
Even the capital of North Korea, the typically dreary and drab Pyongyang is home to a subway network that features ornate designs such as the ironically named Prosperity Station (below).
For a more modern take, visit Naples and go to the Toledo Station which is one of the newer Metro Art Stations that the city has spearheaded. Designed around the themes of water and light due to the presence of water in the stratum and the tremendous depth of the station (50 metres) Toledo is awash in blue and white mosaic and makes one forget that they are heading to work!