Tag Archives: design

Semi Detached Holden?

London’s transport heritage isn’t just about the vehicles; there is also a lot of very important legacies in the network infrastructure. Perhaps one of the better known parts is the architectural work of Charles Holden. I thought I knew it – until I was lucky enough to join the trial run of a new walking tour that the Museum offered to the public as part of the London Festival of Architecture summer programme, which ran throughout June.

Ten of us met at Oakwood station, at the outer reaches of the Piccadilly Line, including our guide for the tour, David Burnell, a long standing Friend of the museum and, more recently, volunteer. David started us off with a knowledgeable discourse on the history of the roots of Holden’s involvement in Underground architecture and the styles that influenced him. Next was a very informative and discerning explanation of the result, using both the interior and exterior of Oakwood to demonstrate the story.

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What did I learn? Well, art deco isn’t a type of architecture; it’s the design features. The architectural style is generally described as ‘British Modernism’.  And Holden only designed one half of his stations, the street level elements. The rail level design was the responsibility of Stanley Heaps, London Transport’s in house architect. They certainly gel well.

From Oakwood we caught a Piccadilly Line train one stop south to Southfields station, another Holden masterpiece, to my eye reminiscent of something from a Buck Rogers comic strip. Under David’s expert eye we also took a 15 minute walking detour via a fine selection of Edwardian suburbia.

Back at Southfield, we again took a train to Arnos Grove, the third in our trio of Holden’s, featuring a rectangular street building as at Oakwood. David again gave us an excellent overview of the main features of the building.

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Ever a glutton for punishment, I stayed on for the optional one hour walk through Arnos Park to Abbotshall Avenue, to see a fine row of 1930s Modernism houses, not to mention a detour to see the Arnos Park viaduct of the Piccadilly Line, an imposing brick edifice.

Dave Olney, Volunteer

Poster Art 150 inspires Graphic Design Students

A guest blog by Gabriel Solomons, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at the University of the West of England

Poster 2 Poster 1

Over the past four years the University of the West of England (UWE) has been running a poster project for level 2 BA graphic design students.

Each year UWE aims to tie the project in with a major national or international event (last year the students produced posters for the 2012 Olympics). This year’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground railway fitted perfectly, as poster art has always been such an integral part of the London Underground ‘experience’.

Students were therefore asked to produce an A3 screenprinted, two-colour poster promoting the exhibition ‘Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs’ currently on show at London Transport Museum. We were so pleased with the results, that we got in touch with the Museum and they asked us to write this blog entry to explain more about the project.

The design concept for this project is rooted in the traditions of the International Typographic Style, a design style developed in Switzerland in the 1950s. This ‘Swiss Style’ emphasizes clean, dynamic composition, with simple colour schemes and information hierarchy using sans serif typefaces, letterforms and shapes rooted in architectural structure.

Students studied the work of celebrated Swiss Style masters such as Armin Hofman, Joseph Muller-Brockmann and Max Bill. They were also encouraged to research the poster collection on the Museum website, which helped them to contextualize their own work and became an invaluable source of inspiration.

After research, students were supplied with a simple grid format to work with. They also had a given set of type sizes and the Johnston typeface, designed by Edward Johnston in 1916 and well known for its use by Transport for London. Artwork for the poster had to be created in a one-day workshop and prepped for screenprinting the following week. This emphasized the speed with which transport posters often had to be created during the ‘Golden Age’ of poster design in the 1920s and 30s.

‘The work created by our students saw a wide range and variety of approaches. Some students chose to use familiar and recognizable images of trains, escalators and tunnel architecture. Others have taken inspiration from the sound, colour and atmosphere of the Tube’s subterranean environment.

We’ve been really pleased with the students’ work, and it shows they thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of creating work for such an institution as London Transport Museum, and for a hugely significant anniversary. You can see the posters online through the typenowhere site.

Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography

After much discussion and debate we now have a new title for our Journeys 2012 exhibition! Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography will draw on the Museum’s outstanding map collection to explore the theme of journeys. We’ll be including an incredible range of maps, from diagrammatic and decorative through to digital.
The exhibition will be the largest of its kind – you’ll get to see previously unseen historic material and some fantastic newly commissioned works of art.
We’re also inviting our audiences to participate, both before and during the exhibition, in our exploration of what a map is, can and should be. The art commissions I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, including projects by Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre are examples of this.
Simon Patterson, The Great Bear (detail), 1992