Anna Waligórka’s graphic designs in the urban space of Gdańsk – the launch of Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway

Anna Waligórska’s works, which won the 5th Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdańsk, may already be admired in the urban space of Gdańsk. They decorate the passenger shelters of eight stations of the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway, which was officially launched in September 2015.

After two years of construction works, the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway, joining Gdańsk and Kashubia, was finally launched. The ceremonial opening took place on 30 August 2015 at the new T2 terminal of the Lech Walesa Airport. The guests included representatives of the Pomeranian Voivodeship authorities and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

The Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway is the historical successor of the pre-war Kokoszkowska Railway, destroyed in 1945. Local councillors and engineers called for its reconstruction for a long time. This is currently the largest investment project in the history of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the first railway line in Poland to be constructed by the regional government.

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The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdańsk announced a competition to create the graphic design of the passenger shelters. This time, rather than revitalising the Dolne Miasto district, the Outdoor Gallery focused on a different part of Gdańsk. Consequently, the 5th edition of the competition was organised in cooperation with the Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna S.A. company managed by the local government. The winner was Anna Waligórska, whose designs we may already admire in the urban space of Gdańsk. The jury was unanimous in its decision to grant her the first place. Jurors agreed that Anna Waligórska’s design matched the lightness of the new modernist architecture of railway stations and at the same time dissolved the matter-of-factness of the structure with its organic imagination. The artistic graphic design is presented in the form of perforated outer walls of passenger shelters. Together with illumination, it highlights the unique character of each of the 8 PMR stations, at the same time serving as the aesthetic and architectural distinguishing feature of the entire metropolitan railway line.

- My graphic design serves a dual purpose: informative and artistic. In my project, I have referred to places where the railway line was built. This line runs partly along the old route that used to connect Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz and Stara Piła. Kiełpinek was the station on the border between Poland and the Free City of Gdańsk. The majority of the railway line runs along the edge of moraine hills. The embankment is currently covered by trees, while the former Kiełpinek station is surrounded by lush greenery – says the artist, Anna Waligórska.

When creating the design, she was inspired by nature, which constitutes an important part of the landscape of the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway. – The contemporary architectural form of PMR stations is a powerful accent in the surrounding landscape. All eight stations feature numbers indicating their order, starting from Strzyża station to the last one in Banino. Numbers on the façades were designed in the form of large, dominating elements, which are visible from afar and facilitate pedestrian orientation in the vast communication spaces of the stations. Each station also features a sign with its name. I set out to create an atmosphere of peace and quiet within the space of the stations. I wanted to create an illusion of being in a non-urban space, surrounded by nature – explains Waligórska.

An important role in the project is played by the light, creating illuminations and shadows inside the passenger shelters. Daylight produces the effect of sunrays shining through leaves or branches, whereas artificial lighting after dusk illuminates both the interior of the shelter and the graphic design on the façade from the inside. Consequently, the stations are clearly visible in the nocturnal landscape, and the ornament on the façade is filled with light. State-of-the-art LED lights were used to illuminate PMR stations. Each railway object features an average of 60-70 such lights, whose power ranges from 13 to 40 W. Therefore, in spite of the considerable illumination within the shelter, the amount of energy consumed will be relatively low.

This is how President of the PMR, Krzysztof Rudziński, described cooperation with the Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art. – Why the Gallery? I have the impression that in many Polish cities, not just Gdańsk, we keep focusing on what’s presented indoors. On galleries, which present various artworks – sculptures, paintings, graphic arts – to a small and rather disinterested group. On the other hand, this project is seen by hundreds of thousands of people. My long-standing involvement in various projects has resulted in the following experience and observations: if we show something better to our society, to the people, then we somehow elevate our standard of living and our way of seeing the world. Our view of the world is also influenced by art in the public space, by such aesthetic interventions in the space and improving the aesthetic quality of the surroundings.

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press images PKM

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