London Underground - Design and The Arts - Contribution To Arts

Contribution To Arts

The Underground currently sponsors and contributes to the arts via its Art on the Underground and Poems on the Underground projects. Poster and billboard space (and in the case of Gloucester Road tube station, an entire disused platform) is given over to artwork and poetry to "create an environment for positive impact and to enhance and enrich the journeys of ... passengers".

Its artistic legacy includes the employment, since the 1920s, of many well-known graphic designers, illustrators and artists for its own publicity posters. Designers who produced work for the Underground in the 1920s and 1930s include Man Ray, Edward McKnight Kauffer, William Kermode and Fougasse. In recent years, the Underground has commissioned work from leading artists including R. B. Kitaj, John Bellany and Howard Hodgkin.

In architecture, Leslie Green established a house style for the new stations built in the first decade of the 20th century for the Bakerloo, Piccadilly and Northern lines which included individual Edwardian tile patterns on platform walls. In the 1920s and 1930s, Charles Holden designed a series of modernist and art-deco stations for which the Underground remains famous. Holden's design for the Underground's headquarters building at 55 Broadway included avant-garde sculptures by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill and Henry Moore (his first public commission). Misha Black was appointed design consultant for the 1960s Victoria Line, contributing to the line's uniform look, while the 1990s extension of the Jubilee line featured stations designed by leading architects such as Norman Foster, Michael Hopkins, Will Alsop and Ian Ritchie. These architects were commissioned by Roland Paoletti, chief architect for the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE).

Many stations also feature unique interior designs to help passenger identification. Often, these have themes of local significance. Tiling at Baker Street incorporates repetitions of Sherlock Holmes's silhouette. Tottenham Court Road features semi-abstract mosaics by Eduardo Paolozzi representing the local music industry at Denmark Street. Northern line platforms at Charing Cross feature murals by David Gentleman of the construction of Charing Cross itself.

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