King’s Cross Tube exit, London, UK
The London Underground, known as the Tube, is one of the world’s oldest underground railways. And this exit is one of the longest light walls in Europe. The 90-meter tunnel featuring a striking LED wall installation, constantly changes its colors. It can be as bold as in the picture above, or very soft, as it was designed to have a calming effect.
Komsomolskaya Station Central Hall in Moscow, Russia
The Komsomolskaya Station decor is done in the theme of the struggle of the Russian people for independence. This is depicted in large ceiling mosaics by Pavel Korin through the station, with a unique Baroque yellow ceiling, octagonal marble columns, and it’s lit up by heavy chandeliers.
T-Centralen (T-Central) Subway Station in Stockholm, Sweden
There are 100 subway stations on Stockholm’s Tunnelbana (T-bana), and roughly 90 of them have some sort of artwork in them, making the Stockholm subway system one of the longest art exhibits in the world. T-Centralen was the first to feature artwork.
HafenCity Universität Metro Station in Hamburg, Germany
HafenCity University U-Bahn (from Untergrundbahn), in Hamburg, is decorated by 12 steel and glass LED lighted structures that depict a continued light show with the colors of the rainbow. In addition the Station also has a sound performance with classical music.
Alisher Navoi Metro Station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
The metro system in the almost unknown Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent, is one of the most artistic in the world. Most of its stations, are decorated ostentatiously, with an incredible array of themes. The Alisher Navoi Station, with its Mosque-like architecture, was opened in 1994 and is considered one of the most beautiful metro stations in Tashkent.
Avtovo Metro Station in Saint Petersburg, Russia
The Avtovo Metro Station underground hall has 46 columns supporting a flat ceiling. Of these, 30 are faced with marble, and 16 with decorative plates made of cast glass panels with a reverse relief. These glass panels have been designed by a specialist in optical glass and they create an optic illusion. This optical effect hides the concrete structure and the columns seem to be made of “solid crystal,” almost like glass monoliths. In 2014,The Guardian included it on its list of the 12 most beautiful metro stations in the world.
Solna Centrum Subway Station in Stockholm, Sweden
Nicknamed “the gates to hell,” Solna centrum is one of Stockholm subway’s most visual striking stations due to the intense orange-red ceiling and meticulous details. Fun fact, most of its iconic paint scenes where not originally planned. But as the station looked a bit blunt in just red and green, the artists started improvising scenes. The forest runs along the walls for about 1000 meters.
University of Naples Metro Subway Station, Italy
The new “Università” Subway Station is a bold, colorful, and expressive environment. As one of the recent “Art Stations” conceived by international and renowned architects, these stations are meant to be dynamic both in their interior and exterior design, and function a bit as a hybrid between museum and station, including sculptures, installations, and contemporary artwork, among other details.
Rumyantsevo Station Central Hall in Moscow, Russia
Rumyantsevo’s interior is decorated with colorful tiles in the abstract style of Piet Mondrian. This station was the first built in the outlying area of “New Moscow.” Its name comes from the prior village of Rumyantsevo, which was absorbed into Moscow.
Pyongyang Subway Station, North Korea
The Pyongyang Metro is an iconic attraction. From crystal chandeliers to marble mosaics and gilded statues, it looks more like a series of palatial ballrooms than a subway. This metro system is considered the deepest metro in the world, as it is buried 100 meters below ground!
Fulton Center in New York , US
Fulton Street Subway Metro Station is a complex that connects 9 lines. The project’s centerpiece dome, the “Sky Reflector-Net,” efficiently reflects ambient daylight into all corners of the station via its suspended prismatic glass blades. It received an LEED silver certification (“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” verification for green buildings) in 2016, for this environmentally-friendly design.
Formosa Boulevard Metro Station in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Formosa Boulevard Station (a.k.a. the Dome of Light) is the world’s largest public art installation made using pieces of colored glass. It covers an area of 660 square meters, and it took about 4 years to complete. The art depicts a thematic story on human life, starting with Water, representing The Womb of Life; Earth, for Prosperity and Growth; Light, illustrating The Creative Spirit; and finally Fire representing Destruction and Rebirth.
The “Wynyard Walk” in Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s first metro system was inaugurated in 2019. Its architecture is very modern and still in development, with the next extension expected to open in 2024, making a total of 66 km with 31 stations.
Keilaniemi Metro Station in Espoo, Finland
Keilaniemi Station, the first one on the Espoo-side of the western extension of the Helsinki metro line, is located in the so called West Metro. This was one of the 8 Stations to win the Nordic Lighting Design winners of 2020. The area where it is situated is a hub of innovation, technology, and business life, and the station’s appearance, with a cool, aligned, and metallic glow, aims to reflect that cluster.
Mustakillik Maydoni Metro Station in Uzbekistan
“Soviet era metro that is totally gorgeous,” states this photographer. After the ban on photographing in Tashkent was lifted, many people took the opportunity to reveal the architecture and art of its subways.
Stadion Metro Station in Stockholm, Sweden
Östermalms IP, near Stadion Station, serves as the main festival area for the Stockholm Pride festival and, coincidently, has an amazing rainbow painted in vivid colors, to welcome festival goers. The real reason though is another one. Stockholm’s metros are like an enormous art exhibition (actually, the longest art exhibit below ground), to ease any fears that could be related with these cave-like underground places.
Mezhdunarodnaya Metro Station in St. Petersburg, Russia
Mezhdunarodnaya (meaning “international”), the station with the gold columns, is one of the Purple Line Stations. Its construction was postponed for about 14 years, from 1986 to 2000. It didn’t open to the public in 2012, totaling 26 years in the making.
Odenplan Metro Station in Stockholm, Sweden
Odenplan Station’s Life Line lights with neon warm white LED artwork, for a total of 400 meters, is a mesmerizing atmosphere. Fun fact: the lights where inspired by the shape of the artist’s son’s heartbeat on a CTG monitor during labor.
Arts et Métiers Metro Station in Paris, France
Paris metro (le Métro), is mostly influenced by Art Nouveau. Most entrances where thoroughly designed to be visible and recognizable, as there is no surface building to draw attention to the presence of a station. The Arts et Métiers Station (Arts and Trades Station), located close to the historical Arts and Crafts museum, was completely redesigned in 1994, inspired by steam power and science fiction.
Kungsträdgården T-bana Metro Station in Stockholm, Sweden
Kungsträdgården, meaning “King’s Garden,” is the end station of both the 10th and 11th lines. The station features relics rescued from many buildings pulled down during the redevelopment of central Stockholm during the 1950s and 1960s throughout the station. It mimics the French-style garden that was once found there. And it even has its own flora, with fungus with an unique DNA-structure, and a spider that cannot be found anywhere else in Northern Europe but there.
Olaias Metro Station in Lisbon, Portugal
Art has been part of Lisbon’s metro stations ever since the first stations in the 1950s, and the Olaias metro station was no exception. Located on the Red Line, built to ease access to the Expo ’98 site, its architecture is like a Modern Art statement, incorporating several art installations. It is often described as the most beautiful of the metro stations in Lisbon, although some might say it is “disconcerting,” like “If you were trapped inside a giant kaleidoscope.” In 2014, The Guardian included it on its list of the 12 most beautiful metro stations in the world.
Tekniska Högskolan Metro Station in Stockholm, Sweden
Tekniska Högskolan Station was built in 1973 to facilitate access to the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan). It won an award for its creative takes on scientific discoveries. Beyond the 5 regular polyhedra located on the platform, each representing one of Plato’s 5 elements (fire, water, air, earth, and ether) there are also representations of Copernican heliocentrism, Polhem’s mechanical alphabet, Newton’s 3 laws of motion, da Vinci’s attempts at creating a flying machine, etc.
Toledo Metro Art Station in Naples, Italy
In many European cities, digging leads to some kind of discovery. In Rome for example, new artefacts are recovered in each new subway expansion. Naples’s Toledo Metro Art Station was no exception to this. Its architectural design integrates LED lights and small mosaic glass paste with ancient walls belonging to the Aragonese period (1484-1501) that were found during excavation work.