Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Swedish Showcase: Stockholm Metro Art

To continue with our Swedish theme for the month, we’re back at it with another cool and artsy thing to do if you happen to be in Stockholm (if that’s not on the agenda, don’t worry – we’ve included plenty of gorgeous photos to ogle from afar).

The Stockholm Metro is sometimes referred to as the world’s longest art gallery. Indeed, more than 90 of the 110 stations feature artwork created by over 150 artists. You can see sculptures, mosaics, paintings, art installations, inscriptions and reliefs dating from the 1950s right through to the present day.

T-Centralen Tunnelbana via Flickr by Nenyaki
The Stockholm Metro has a long and (quite literally) colourful history. While it began operation in September of 1933 as a Premetro, it didn’t actually become a full-fledged metro until October of 1950. In the 1950s, artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert were the primary forces behind the initial campaign to bring art to the Metro. The stations built during the 1960s were mostly underground and many of the stations – such as Östermalmstorg, Mariatorget, and Hornstull –incorporated art from their inception.

Rådmansgatan via Flickr by Nenyaki
Unlike the concrete stations of the previous decade, the 1970s approach was to cover the rock face with a layer of sprayed concrete, approximately 7 to 8 cm thick; the sprayed concrete follows the shape of the rock and gives the illusion that the station is actually a cave. The art from this period included stations designed as a coherent whole; the artists, architects, and engineers worked in a long-term partnership to create these stations, which include Rådhuset, Kungsträdgården, and Solna Centrum.

Kungsträdgården via Flickr by Nenyaki
Perhaps the most visually striking of all the stations is Solna Centrum. It’s cavernous, vibrant red ceiling and green spruce forest walls are incredibly striking and make for some absolutely gorgeous photos.

via Flickr by Tobias Lindman

Since 1997, Storstockholms Lokaltrafik has been running regular guided tours of the Stockholm Metro art at no additional charge. Swedish tours run all year round and English tours run in the summer. All you need is a valid Metro ticket to join in - if you have been lucky enough to visit this amazing place, let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!