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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Beijing's subway in artistic brush up

By  Wei Na (Global Times)

09:10, April 19, 2012

(Photo from Global Times)

Beijing is planning to decorate 58 new subway stations with unique styles of public art, including on uncompleted lines 6, 8, 9 and 10, said Beijing sculpture office yesterday.

"The designers have started going to construction sites to work out specific plans. The station decoration will be completed as each line is ready to open to the public," said Yu Huayun, director of Beijing City Sculpture Construction and Management Office.

"Although we haven't decided the exact themes and elements for each station yet, the design will embrace the features of Beijing," said Yu.

The most important principle for decorating the stations is to be as close to the style of the above ground areas as possible, said Yu.

"Like at Olympic Forest Park station, there's the steel grid ceiling over the platform which closely resembles the structure of the Bird's Nest above," said Yu.

"However, we won't decorate the stations at Gulou [Drum Tower] or Nanluoguxiang in a very modern style, but will bring in traditional elements," noted Yu.

The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China Mural Association and Beijing Jingzhi Culture and Arts Company have all won contracts to decorate the stations.

Huo Xinghai, a student at CAFA who helped design Line 6 stations, said he wanted to keep the colors and style "bright and neat." He said that designers involved with the project were asked to provide commuters with pleasant and diverse visual experiences.

"It's underground space for large numbers of people commuting in a packed place, so it should be bright enough for people to distinguish the exits to get out or transfer fast," said Huo.

For the sake of space-saving on the often crowded subway platforms and tunnels, medallions and reliefs were off the list for wall decorations, said Huo.

"We considered them for a while but the tunnels are pretty narrow at some stations, so there are safety concerns to put first," said Yu.

"But we do understand few people might pay attention to the arts and decoration at stations in the busy subway system," said Yu.

For some commuters though, an attractive station does bring some relief to an otherwise boring commute.

"I was impressed by the frescos at Xizhimen Station, and the entrance of Beitucheng Station is shaped like a Chinese porcelain vase; they're beautiful," said Lin Yuanyuan, a regular subway rider, "and I look forward to seeing more subway art."

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