You may not know that one of the great attractions of a tourist trip to Stockholm is to visit… the Metro! Not because the Swedish capital Metro is one of the most modern in Europe but because their stations have become real centers of modern art to the point that it is recommended that, if you can, you should join one of the guided tours of the Stockholm metro. The Stockholm metro network begun in 1950 and currently has 110 stations spread over three main lines with four complementary strands. The idea of decorating in an artistic way the subway stations began during the construction of the first stations which were designed by Peter Celsing, chief architect of Stockholm Tram, from whose lines was developed the subway.
Stockholm Metro Art T-Centralen
Stockholm Metro Open Doors
But officially the Art in the Stockholm Metro appeared in 1957 when they built the main station of the network T-Centralen for whose decoration is a competition after which were selected 12 proposals that were implemented in this station. Currently, there are 90 stations with artistic decoration with the participation of 150 artists. At the same time they are building new stations while decorating others. While you can go on your own to the subway lines, it is interesting to take part in organized tours as I did on my last trip to Stockholm. Guided tours of the Stockholm Metro are held in summer, from June to September, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 15 pm. They are in English and free and you should aim at the tourist office in that T-Centralen station.
Stockholm Metro Art Super Mario
Stockholm Metro Rainbow Art
The tour departs and ends at that station next to that office and lasts an hour. Of course the first thing you see is the decoration of the station itself, its walls decorated with tiles from the 50s. The decorations that you are getting are very diverse, from artistic projects developed on tiles, until others made reliefs through concrete walls. There’s even a station where you will find columns and other archaeological remains.
Stockholm Metro Art
Stockholm Metro Art Kungstradgarden
But I think what call the most attention are the so called grotto stations which began to be built in the 70s. Instead of concrete covered with rocks excavated from the construction of the tunnels, they were decorated with layers of paint creating a decorated cave environment. This results in a very bright environment. You will see on your tour of the Stockholm Metro, in particular by the blue line which Masmo station was the first to incorporate this artistic style.
Stockholm Metro photos: Ian, Prabhat Kumar, Pascal Boegli, jaime silva, unsoundscapes.