Swedish people are usually considered calm, quiet, well-behaved and their country is an example of almost an ideal society with strict rules which, at the same time, allow a peaceful coexistence of numerous nationalities in one nation. It is also a country of technological development, order, reliable technologies and friendship civil servants (wait, is that really possible? not here in my country, it seems).
An one thing that you may not associate Sweden – actually, Stockholm the capital city – with is that they probably have the most amazing underground system! And I don’t mean the number of lines or how modern and reliable the public transport probably is. And it’s not even about the fact that they have the deepest-located station in the world. What makes it absolutely unique is that at 110 km it is the ‘longest art exhibition’ – over 90 stations out of 100 are decorated with paintings, sculptures, mosaics, installations created by over 150 artists. Tourists may consider this as their first introduction to the country’s history of art. With the first proper metro line opened in 1950, the first piece of underground art was introduced in 1957. The whole concept has to do with a continuous debate about art in Sweden, which has been going on since the 19th century. Different ways to bring art closer to the public were considered, and the opening of the metro lines was seen as a perfect space to fulfill the goal.
Here is a selection of the most amazing stations. You can also read a vast work on the entire project, its history and the works in this publication (they’ve done a publication on asubway art! way to go, Swedish people!).
This is the deepest metro station in the world, but it’s also bright and busy – according to Stockholm’s traffic agency, approximately 167,000 people travel through the station each day, making it the busiest stop on the subway system. The blue vine motifs running along the walls on the Blue line section of the station were designed by Per Olof Ultvedt in 1975 to offer a few moments of soothing calm as passengers waited for and transferred to different trains. The desidner also wanted to honour the welders, carpenters, steel workers, engineers and miners who toiled daily at T-Central station. Instead of inscribing their names on walls, which felt eerily similar to a memorial, he painted silhouettes in blue of the workers (in keeping with his other blue-themed motifs) over the walls and ceilings of the Blue line connection
With so much other activity at T-Central Station, commuters might not notice the pattern of multi-coloured glass prism tiles running the length of its walls. Designed in 1958 by Erland Melanton and Bengt Edenfalk, this was one of the first art installations in the underground network, and is called “Klaravagnen” – reference to the old “Klara” neighbourhood that was located above here in the 1950s.
Solna Centrum Station
Solna Centrum Station which resembles a massive cave-like installation was created by Anders Åberg and Karl-Olov Björk back in 1975, at the peak of Sweden’s industrial era. A fiery red sky and green spruce forest sprayed on the walls reflect the 1970’s political issues of “rural depopulation and destruction of the environment”. The artists also depicted outdoor activities like fishing in clean streams and Nordic wildlife like moose, which were threatened by the industrial pollution at the time. In my opinion -the looks of the stairs that seem to be escalating straight into lava is truly amazing! Definitely one of my favourites!
Arguably one of the most dramatic installations is the vibrantly coloured abstract harlequin design that engulfs the Kungsträdgården Station in the centre of Stockholm. Painted by Ulrik Samuelson in 1977, with later additions made by the artist in 1987, the ceiling artwork can be found on the Arsenalsgatan exit side of the station. The green, red and white lines that run along the floors of Kungsträdgården Station were also painted by Ulrik Samuelson in 1977. The art harkens back to the history of Kungsträdgården (“The Kings’ Garden”), a park that belonged to King Charles XIII in the 17th Century. The green stripes symbolise its once beautiful green Baroque gardens, the red hue is for the gravel pathways and the white lines reflect the marble statues that once graced the grounds of the king’s Makalös Palace, which stood above the station’s current location. Also at Kungsträdgården Station is a small archaeological dig of artefacts belonging to Sweden’s National Art Museums collective. The gas lamps that once lined Torsgatan street and the 17th- and 18th-century remnants of marble columns and stone sculptures from Makalös Palace are on permanent display here.
The 1950s teal-coloured tile work and vintage signposts at this Station along the Green line gave the station the moniker “bathroom station”. In addition to restoring the station’s architecture, artist Gun Gordillo added 103 strips of winding neon lights along the ceilings in 1998 to add more drama.
To go along with its name and location, the station is full of sculptures and signs designed in the bright rainbow colours of the Olympic rings. There is also a large rainbow painted on the marbled blue rock walls. They were designed by Enno Hallek and Åke Pallarp in 1973 to commemorate the 1912 Olympics, which took place at Stockholm Stadium (“Stadion”), after which the station is named.
Six ingeniously painted aluminium sheets line the wall of Stadshagen Station on the Blue line. Painted by Lasse Lindqvist in 1975, these shape-shifting panels commemorate sporting events like the Swedish soccer team playing the Danes — if you look from the left you see the Swedish team, from the right, the Danish team. There are also sheets illustrating track and field meets (track from one direction, field from the other), and winter sports like skiing (cross-country skiing from the left and downhill skiing from the right).
and here is some more, but I did not find the exact descriptions. I hope you ejnoy them just as much I do.