Name changes cause further Dubai Metro work

Transport Design Consultancy’s work on the Dubai Metro is continuing as the names of at least 13 stations in Dubai’s first-ever public transport system are to be changed in line with sponsorship branding.

The latest part of the brief under the Naming Rights Project will involve revising maps and the implementation of station signage to incorporate sponsors’ branding.

‘The biggest thing is the maps. They have to change and there will be discussion around how we’re going to do that. We need to consider giving everyone equal exposure, as well as how to make sponsors’ brands work on small- and large-scale formats,’ says Tony Howard, founder of Transport Design Consultancy, the group responsible for the public transport signage and wayfinding scheme (DW 27 November 2008). The overarching Dubai Metro branding is yet to come, he adds.

Stations named after companies include First Gulf Bank station and the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority station. ‘Some of the stations are keeping the old name but want to apply their brand, while other sponsors are naming after their product or service. Clearly, some of the names have to be retained for geographical reasons, and cultural names also have to be kept, but there are a number of locations where it was up to whoever wanted to sponsor the station to name that station,’ says Howard.

‘When we undertook this exercise we were fearing the worst, but most are fairly straightforward local names, which, whether they’re commercial or not, don’t really matter to overseas visitors. They’re identifiable and that’s all that’s needed,’ he adds.

According to reports in the local Emirates press, the naming initiative is thought to have yielded around Dh90m (£16.5m), with the value of stations dependent on their locations. The money generated is being ploughed back into the construction of the metro.

Dubai Rail and Transport Authority is also this week in the process of finalising interior designs for station fit-out. The scheme – designed by KCA International, famed for the opulent interiors of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel – is based around the idea of the four elements/ fire, earth, water and air.

Colour palettes taking their cue from each of the elements will be used sequentially throughout the metro, according to KCA design director Dubai John Carolan.

Underground stations will ‘be on a par with Moscow’, says Carolan, while those overground, conceived by architect Aedas, will reference Dubai’s pearl-diving heritage through shell-like roofs.

Stations will be ‘bold in colour and material combinations’, Carolan says, in a bid to create something ‘unique’ for the city.


Dubai Metro

• Red line opening September

• Station interiors by KCA International

• Signage and wayfinding by Transport Design Consultancy

• Station exteriors and concepts by Aedas

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