Ingo Maurer creates ‘zen rooms’ for German subway

German artist and lighting designer Ingo Maurer is developing unusual sensory-based concepts to light up a central subway system in Germany.

The aim is to create a series of ‘zen rooms’ for seven underground stations in the city of Karlsruhe. The designer’s intention is to relax passengers, significantly evolving lighting formats traditionally used for underground stations. The stations are scheduled to open in 2010.

The underground areas will feature groups of overhead traction wires, fluorescent tubes, downlights and LEDs running in a web above passengers across the roof of the stations. These will change colour and specific areas will be embedded with sensors to create a three-coloured ‘shadow’ image of people passing by.

Stations will also feature linear coloured lights situated at the edge of the platforms that change colour from red to green to signal the arrival of a train.

Maurer has created a ‘soundscape’ for each of the seven stations. Noises, such as voices whispering the name of each station in various accents, will be piped through the sites. Meanwhile, Maurer is also drawing up a lighting scheme for André Waterkeyn’s iconic Atomium building in Brussels, Belgium as part of a €23m (£15.7m) renovation programme to transform the venue into a state-of-the-art leisure and culture complex.

The Atomium was originally designed in 1958 for the Universal Exhibition of Brussels. The structure is made up of nine 20m globes which represent a molecule of an iron crystal magnified 165 million times.

Maurer is implementing a lighting scheme to complement the building’s heritage, after being appointed to the project last year. ‘The idea is to update the futuristic design and concept of the 1950s with the technical possibilities of the present,’ says a spokesman for the project.


• Lighting and design for Kruisheren Church hotel, Holland 2005

• Lighting for Atomium, Brussels, 2005

• Participation in V&A Museum’s Brilliant exhibition in 2004

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