1994. Dutch Railways

Possibly the best known example of my applied arts, seen daily by thousands of commuters who travel by train through the Netherlands, is the interior on the double decker trains with etched glass dividing walls between first and second class, the wall panels as well as the fabric covering.

In 1994, a team of experts, working for Bombardier in Aachen, Germany, created a new concept for the furnishing. My contribution, in addition to the design of seating fabric, was to produce glass panels for 300 trains with alternatively positive and negative patterns of kites and snow crystals. The sun creates shadows that tumble over the passengers and interior giving joy and delight to the art of travelling.

The project lasted just as long as the production time of all double decker trains: seven years in total. And the precision of the design team was extremely high: in Germany, accuracy is part of the game. In Aachen, all the mock-ups were made, but other elements and components were produced by various companies in Europe and thereafter tested on their resistance to wear and their durability. Studies regarding the cross section of the train resulted in a wonderful abstract image of the interior, in which doors, fabric seating (with my dear little mumfels), suitcase racks, coat pegs et cetera present themselves as one abstract whole, in consistent design and wonderful harmony. 

In addition, the front walls of the train compartments made of melamine material feature reliefs in the surface: lowered and raised lines and planes. This was realized by pressing the melamine panels in different models, according to my design. With their styling, they match the glass partition walls, which received the very same etching treatment. Unfortunately, screens were placed on the lowered etched glass walls at a later stage, which makes the five thousand signatures placed by me personally invisible. During the first renovation phase, years after the original production, also the second class received a similar velveteen covering. The design of the silence compartments was my doing, too. People chatting away loudly on mobile phones are not welcome here and therefore have to search for another place. In a silence compartment you may enjoy a good read or a gentle snooze. 

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