Though many daily commuters (but not The Muppets) would struggle to see the subway as anything other than a crowded and stressful means to an end, there are a few cities around the world which have devoted resources to crafting beautifully designed, art-filled metro stations. We’ve found eight of the most gorgeous in the world:
Kievskaya Station, Moscow, Russia
Chandeliers…in the underground? Moscow takes opulence to new heights (err, depths), with its lavish light fixtures, marble pillars, and colourful mosaics. Built in 1954, the station is meant to resemble a 19th century powder room.
T-Centralen Station, Stockholm, Sweden
The T-Centralen Station, all roughly carved walls and bright murals, is made to resemble primeval cave paintings. Conceived of by artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert in the 1950s, the idea that art and public transportation belong together is now a given in Sweden.
Toledo Station, Naples, Italy
The recently redesigned Toledo Station in Naples is stunning to behold. Walls, ceilings, and other surfaces are covered in a galaxy of blue and white Bisazza mosaic tiles, which gives the impression of being either underwater or in outer space.
Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai, China
All right, so technically it’s not a station. But the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, which goes between Puxi and Pudong under the Pu River, offers an exhilarating light show that are viewable by cable car.
Formosa Boulevard Station, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
One of the world’s most impressive public art installations, the “Dome of Light” that crowns the upper part of the Formosa Boulevard Station is a riotous expanse of rainbow-hued stained glass. Created by artist Narcissus Quagliata, the 30-meter-wide dome tells the story of human life.
Arts et Métiers Station, Paris, France
Designed by François Schuiten, a Belgian comic book artist, the Arts et Métiers Station near to the Centre Pompidou gives travellers the surrealistic impression that they’re inside a Jules Verne-inspired submarine. The station’s brass walls, portholes, and cogs complete the nautical feel.
Line A Stations, Prague, Czech Republic
The stations along Prague’s Line A metro line feature a playful and hard-to-miss design: the walls and ceilings are lined with Lego-like building block motifs. Though the general design is repeated in all stations, each one has its own colour scheme.
Champ-de-Mars Station, Montreal, Canada
The platforms may not be anything special to look at, but the stunning Champ-de-Mars Station mezzanine incorporates one of Quebecois artist Marcelle Ferron’s most famous works. Featuring stained glass windows with geometric patterns, the station is regarded as an artistic masterpiece.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas
(Featured image: Moscow metro station © Viacheslav Lopatin, 2013. Used under license from Shutterstock.com)