Sunday, December 9, 2007

IN : Public Transport

In today's urban world, you cannot travel throughout the city's boundaries without encountering some pitch for going "green". What better way to contribute to this hip new movement of the moment, and hopefully a movement for the rest of today and the future, than to hop on the readily available mode of public transport nearest you? Finally, Washington has begun to take hints that it's means of public transport are shabby, outdated, and unfriendly to the sophisticated urbanite with sensitive taste buds for the world of design. New buses are on the streets with engines that minimize pollution and are even baring new elements of well executed design, such as more ergonomic interiors as well as more aerodynamic and up-to-date exterior detailing. Then there is the MetroRail system. At it's inception, the newly constructed stations, both exterior and interior flaunted high modernist expressions of the time. The cast concrete formworks underground have a unique and energized texture, and play with light and shadow. The cylandroid forms scream sleek, fast, and chic transportation. The Metro cars themselves also showcased shiny metal frames, housing trendy (for the time) interior finishes and color schemes. The burnt orange to chocolate brown range of color added a unique consistency to the interior design schemes. The colors may have been a bit trendy and later viewed as dismal and drab, but at LEAST they were consistent and period. Recently, the Metro cars have been updated and repaired. The orange/brown carpets have been replaced by a deep red colored carpet. I never understood the use of carpet in the Metro in the first place, let alone replacing the existing with a color that isn't even close to compatible with the original color scheme. I applaud the proposed new design to utilize a synthetic rubberized flooring in the color medium grey. Anything is better than carpet, especially carpet that doesn't match. Random seats have also been replaced with dark red and a pale blue/grey vinyl material. The orange wasn't exactly pleasant, but mixing in the worst red and blue shades possible to it just added to the offensiveness of the interior design. If in any way the colors of red, white, and blue in the new design were purposefully intended to represent the nation's capital, it failed miserably. People who take the Metro are doing so for varied reasons, ease of travel, urban convenience, or as an adventure for out of town visitors, and should be exposed to a vibrant, consistently designed, and informative experience. Metro is experimenting with various new options regarding accommodation, but they should also experiment with a cost effective way to design a consistent and exciting palate for the citizens of the 21st century. The current trainwreck of an interior has so many possibilities and potential to make DC proud. Photos courtesy WMATA

No comments:

Post a Comment