Let’s face it: of all the millions of subway rides taken around the world every day, most are, at best, a simple means to an end. At worst, they’re a stressful commute kicking off or concluding the working day.
Seeking to bring a little light and joy to the typical, underground, intracity journey, the makers of these 7 stations got seriously creative. Move along graffiti and scratchiti ‘artists’, your ‘work’ isn’t welcome here. Behold underground art as you’ve never seen it before.
Kievskaya Station, Moscow, Russia
Chandeliers…in the underground? Moscow takes opulence to new heights (err, depths), with its lavish light fixtures, marble pillars, and colourful mosaics. Built in 1954, Kievskaya Station was created to resemble a 19th century powder room.
T-Centralen Station, Stockholm, Sweden
Primeval cave paintings were the inspiration for T-Centralen Station’s roughly carved walls and bright murals. Thanks to the vision of artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert in the 1950s, the idea of art and public transportation existing hand in hand is a given in today’s Sweden.
Toledo Station, Naples, Italy
The recently redesigned Toledo Station in Naples is stunning to behold. Walls…ceilings…almost every surface has been tiled in blue and white Bisazza mosaic tiles. The glaxy effect all adds up to the feeling of being in outer space…or underwater…we can’t decide.
Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai, China
Okay, so, technically it’s not a station, but the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel does run underground. Under the Pu River to be precise, linking Puxi with Pudong. Quickly flitting between mesmerising psychedelia and laughable naffness, this is one cable car ride you won’t forget in a hurry.
Formosa Boulevard Station, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
In what must be one of the world’s most impressive public art installations, the “Dome of Light” crowns the upper part of the Formosa Boulevard Station in a riotous expanse of rainbow-hued stained glass. To the casual eye the dome might looks like a cacophony of colour. Look more carefully and you’ll see artist Narcissus Quagliata’s attempt to tell the story of human life…all within a ‘canvas’ of 30 square metres.
Line A Stations, Prague, Czech Republic
If Lego ever ventured into the subway business, we imagine they’d end up creating something like Prague’s A metro line. feature a playful and hard-to-miss design: the walls and ceilings are lined with Lego-like building block motifs. The playful and hard-to-miss design runs through all stations, with each station made distinct by a particular colour. Above, Staroměstská station is easily identifiable by its flashes of red.
Champ-de-Mars Station, Montreal, Canada
Were it not for its handsome mezzanine, Champ-de-Mars would be just another hum-drum concrete station. We can’t help but wonder what effect Marcelle Ferron’s stained glass windows have on Montreal’s passenger numbers: On the one hand, art lovers are undoubtedly drawn to view one of the Québécois artist’s most famous works. On the other, halted by the striking geometric design, some travellers probably fail to make their way underground.