For most people, there isn’t much to love about the morning commute. Busy subway stations, trains, and busses often leave us feeling cramped, overwhelmed, and frustrated. However, with the right art and design solutions, that could all be about to change.
Though art isn’t going to make your travel any less busy, or quiet the crying baby that’s giving you a headache, it can help to put you in a better frame of mind for the day ahead. At least, that’s the idea that Chantal Joffe is trying to portray with her new artworks at the Crossrail in London.
Chantal will be one of the several artists chosen to design images for the new stations around the capital of England. For the Whitechapel station, Chantal will be using 20 different pictures of people designed in bold, bright colors. Perhaps the most compelling thing about the images is the fact that they’re designed to represent everyday individuals, rather than VIPs or celebrities.
Where Chantal Got Her Inspiration
Unlike some of the other artists involved in the process, Joffe has never actually designed anything for the public eye before. As a result, she spent a lot of time around the station she was set to create for and browsing through the British Museum for insights into the kinds of images that she wanted to create.
Now that digital printing solutions and professional printing services are more accessible than ever before, it’s easier for artists to create images in a range of different styles and materials. Joffe wanted to use bright and vague pictures to create a sense of community in the open transportation places. She noted that while she wanted to involve a selection of different people in her work, she had a lot of fun working with Asian headscarves in her images.
Joffe acknowledged her excitement and apprehension around the idea that people may still be viewing her artwork decades from today. However, she felt that it was her duty to make at least one aspect of the rail as homely and intimate as possible – free from the industrial aspects of previous designs.
Developing a New Rail Project
The man responsible for design work in the Crossrail station since 2008 is Julian Robinson, the head of architecture. He said that the new project was a large one, and although they’ve tried to give a mainly standardized feel to the new platforms, there are going to be new and evolutionary ideas at every station.
For Julian, it was about finding a balance between a very clear architectural identity in the stations, and a unique character for each location. This was why artworks were commissioned from different people around London. Julian, like Joffe, is excited about how the art will impact commuting people in the long-term. He hopes that people will love the new Crossrail when it opens in December 2018 and that the art will deliver something special to the otherwise exhausting or boring aspects of a standard London commute.