Public art has the power to transform a civic space from something ordinary into something extraordinary. When placed in the public eye, it has the potential to reflect our diverse culture, communicate how we see the world, provoke discussion among a group of people, and ultimately enhance our environment.
With more metro stations jumping on board to create a unique space that inspires a sense of community, murals are becoming a prominent way to beautify a public space and open up a conversation with those traveling from point A to point B.
As more metro stations look to add something special for the common traveler to view on their daily commute, many infrastructures in Belgium have been installing murals to create a better experience and environment for all pedestrians passing through.
1. Plantin Metro Station in Antwerp, Belgium
In 2015, extracts of artwork from the famous printer and publisher, Christopher Plantin were used to refurbish the Plantin Metro Station in Antwerp, Belgium. With the city acquiring Plantin’s largest and longest lasting firm, Plantin Press, they planned to transform it into a museum honoring Plantin for his work and the impact he had on the city. With the means to enhance the overall aesthetics of the station, the main goal of this artwork was to use the station as an avenue to promote this new museum in Antwerp. The images and QR code that link to the museum were printed on durable panels to keep the history of this city alive and well in this public space.
2. Demey Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium
In 2012, Michel Dusariez, a photographer from Belgium set out to create photographic artwork for two 40 meter long corridors leading to the underground Demey Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium. The result was a series of compelling photographs entitled “People in Motion,” which showcases people in multicolored clothing playing sports and playing musical instruments. The photographs were later reproduced on CeramicSteel to give pedestrians a completely unique feel traveling throughout the station.
3. Sainte Catherine Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium
In 2006 and 2007, as Sainte Catherine Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium underwent a complete renovation both above and below ground, artist Thierry Renard was hard at work designing his art piece entitled “Millefeuille”. With the idea of introducing the crisp and fresh feelings of springtime to travelers, the artwork also brought along with it a sense of nature underground for all those passing through to enjoy. Walking throughout the station, artwork featuring an array of flowers were applied to enamelled steel using the handcrafted process of screen printing. The artwork was later reproduced on architectural panels to create a continuous and captivating design on the platform walls.
4. Lemonnier Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium
In 2008, as the Lemonnier Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium began renovation in its vastly multicultural neighborhood, they approached artist Hamsi Boubeker to create a piece of art that portrayed the culture of the community. The artwork, entitled “Hands of Hope,” pays tribute to decorative motif characteristics of the Kabyle culture, consisting of handprints collected from a group of diverse people and illustrates henna markings that were often worn during festivals and cultural celebrations. With each hand being uniquely crafted, the artwork sketched using ink and paper was later transferred to CeramicSteel panels to provide the community with a sense of culture in this public space.
5. De Brouckère Metro Station in Brussels, Belgium
In 2004, the De Brouckère Metro in Brussel, Belgium (which consists of both a metro and premetro station) began renovation to connect the two stations through its 103 meter long moving walkway. With the task to create a piece of art that could resonate with the local community, artist Jan Vanriet designed a contemporary piece entitled “The city moves in the palm of my hand,” which fuses the high energy of the colorful city living above ground with the city’s historical past. The decorative walls were later printed on interior panels, using ceramic inks and fired in the range of 700 – 900 °C, to allow the product and image to withstand heavy traffic environments and maintain the purity of the artwork seen throughout the station.
These five metro stations in Belgium have not only created a unique experience for travelers of all kinds passing through, but these murals have completely transformed their infrastructure into a work of art for all to enjoy and take part in. As this trend continues to take the world by storm, we can expect to see more murals making their debut in public spaces in many years to come.
Images used in this article are featured on https://polyvision.com/about/
Post by Olivia Yeakle
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