A Partially Submerged Train Car Provides a Dramatic Entrance to Frankfurt’s Bockenheimer Warte Subway Station
Subway stations are typically just a means to an end, simple structures that allow a large overflow of commuters to enter and exit at will. It is less common for the design to be a destination in itself, like the popular Bockenheimer Warte subway entrance in Frankfurt, Germany. The station, erected in 1986, was built to look as if an old tram car had crash landed into the sidewalk that surrounds the station. The entrance was designed by the architect Zbigniew Peter Pininski who was inspired by René Magritte surrealist paintings. Although slightly dark, the work does have a hint of magical realism, making riders feel as if they are arriving at Platform 9 3/4 rather than just another subway stop in Frankfurt. (via My Modern Met)
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Seeking to make bike paths safer and more accessible in the evening and night hours, urban planners in Lidzbark Warminski, Poland just unveiled a new glow-in-the-dark bike lane. The path is made from small crystal-like particles of phosphor called ‘luminophores’ that charge during sunlight hours and can glow for up to 10 hours. The lane was built by TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o who were partially inspired by Studio Roosegaarde’s stunning solar-powered bike path in the Netherlands mentioned here in 2014. Unlike the Netherland’s concept which uses solar-powered LEDs, this new path in Poland requires no external power source. The design is currently being tested to see how it withstands regular wear and tear. You can read more over on Inhabitat.
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Like most that read this article, German artist Menja Stevenson has had her fair share of rides in city buses and trains, each of which has forced her (and you) to sit on top of garishly designed uniform seating. The fabric, as investigated by this article on the BBC, is not only made to outlast spills and stains, but also trends, as many of the painfully drab designs can last a decade or more.
Interested in this accident-resistant material, Stevenson began sourcing and creating outfits out of the fabric in 2006 for her project Bustour. The project forced her to persuade German transportation companies to personally ship her the fabric, as they are not commercially available. After finally obtaining the material she designed clothes that aesthetically camouflaged herself within each bus or train interior matching the fabric, capturing the reaction of fellow passengers.
“Wearing them, you sweat like crazy, they feel like a knight’s armor and it’s hard to act naturally,” said Stevenson. “I couldn’t believe that many people didn’t realize the connection seeing me and the seats together. Did they think that it was sheer coincidence? Some curious people at least talked to me, and a very few laughed, but most passengers would look shyly at me and quickly look the other way again.”
You can see archived documentation of these reactions (or lack there of) on Stevenson’s website. If you’re searching for a slightly more practical use for old transportation fabric take a look at the bags and accessories made from airplane seat fabric by Fallen Furniture (previously). (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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When thinking of decor inside an American taxicab, your imagination is probably limited to an LED payment screen blaring annoying ads and maybe a pine tree air freshener dangling from a rearview mirror. In India, a new firm is thinking a bit more creatively by helping cab drivers completely transform the interior of their taxis with original art by local designers. Mumbai-based TaxiFabric creates cloth interiors printed with vibrant designs that cover nearly every inch of a vehicle’s interior from the ceiling to the door panels and even the seats themselves.
TaxiFabric is an interesting hybrid of interior design, advertising, and promotion of local culture, with a number of benefits both to the cab driver and the artists. Drivers report that after applying the designs to their vehicles, passengers often tip more and remain in the cabs longer. Artists in turn have their work seen by a large new audience and are easily identified by a prominent label on the back of every seat.
From the TaxiFabric website:
Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are not only the most convenient form of transport but have also become an iconic piece of culture. Although much attention is given to each taxi by its driver – to make it stand out from his competitors – very little thought is given to the fabric used on the seats. The designs that cover the taxi seats are often functional and forgettable and with the outstanding design talent Mumbai has to offer, this shouldn’t be the case.
Design, as a job or even simply something studied at school, is unfortunately not widely recognised in India. Older generations don’t understand it- design to them, just performs a function. Many people don’t know that design can create a real impact. With so few spaces for young people to show off their skills, it’s hard to change that perception.
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