The Toledo Metro Art Station
The project of the Catalan architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca also affected the area above, transformed into pedestrian zone and upgraded aesthetically. The communication between internal and external space is entrusted to the skylight-structures-that, from the street, carry the sunlight in the rooms below.
On the first undergound floor the remains of the walls of the Aragonese period are integrated into the architectural design, while the cast of a plowed field of the Neolithic, found during the excavations of the station is displayed at the Station Museum, in “Stazione Neapolis” in the corridor connecting with the National Archaeological Museum.
In the coatings of this first level black predominates, an allusion to the asphalt of the contemporary city, which enhances the appearance of large mosaics by William Kentridge. The first is a long procession of dark figures, many of them inspired by the history of the city of Naples, led through music by the patron saint, San Gennaro. The background on which all the characters seem to pace slowly is the project for the Central Railroad for the city of Naples, 1906 (Naples Procession) which is also the title of the work. The second mosaic, located above the escalators, is titled Remediation of the slums of Naples in relation to the railway station, 1884 (Naples Procession). This time the design used for the background of the work is the famous first project for a subway in Naples, created by the versatile Lamont-Young.
Going down to another level, upholstery colors change and we see a bright yellow reminiscent of the warm colors of the earth and the Neapolitan tuff, up to the level 0, or the sea level, indicated by the transition to spectacular mosaics of a blue which is becoming more intense as we go deeper.
This brings us to a monumental underground room, dominated by the charm of the oval mouth of the Crater de luz, a large cone that crosses in depth all levels of the station, connecting the street level with the spectacular hall built 40 meters underground. Looking inside you can recognize at the other end the sun and a fascinating interplay of LEDs governed by the software programmed by Robert Wilson (Relative light). On the walls of the hall “underground” we can admire the Olas, waves in relief designed by Oscar Tusquets Blanca, while proceeding within the tunnel overpass, we are surrounded by panels of the Sea by Robert Wilson, By the sea … you and me, this is their title, light box with LED light made using the lens.
Oscar Tusquets Blanca:
The Station was named for the former Via Toledo, which was built in 1536 to link two of the city’s main squares, the present-day Piazza Dante and Piazza Trieste and Trento, upon orders of the Viceroy Pedro Alvares de Toledo. The partially pedestrianized street is one of Naples’ busiest shopping areas and, the numerous period buildings have made this street one of the city’s foremost tourist attractions since the times of the Grand Tour.
The Station, located at the junction between Via Diaz and Via Montecalvario, will also serve to access the Spanish Quarters via the Montecalvario exit currently under construction.
The descent to the station, almost 50 meters underground and 43,000 m3 in volume, is characterized by a succession of colors which mark the various levels: the black earth, the okra hued tufa rock and the blue of the sea.
During excavation work, significant artifacts bearing witness to city’s ancient past emerged, ranging from ploughed land dating back to the Paleolithic period (a cast of which is currently at the Museo Nazionale) to wall work from the Aragonese period which has been restored and incorporated into the Station’s decor.
Archeological finds and works of contemporary art are displayed side-by-side in the station’s interior.
Natural light penetrates to the depths of the station via truncated cones in hexagonal sections which are part of the urban decor in this new piazza.
Completely closed to vehicle traffic, the last section of Via Diaz will become an open air environment perfectly suited to providing an oasis of relaxation for passers-by and an area of tranquility in the midst of the crowded Via Toledo..
Project name: The Toledo Metro Art Station
Location: Naples, Italy
Type: Adaptive Reuse, Art in Architecture, Terminal / Station Interior
Underground: 50 meters
Volume: 43,000 m3
Built area: 13,228 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Completion Year: 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Metronapoli
Interior Designer: Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Abadessa Olzet, 7 o8o34, Barcelona, Spain
Project director: Giovanni Fassanaro
Artists: William Kentridge, Bob Wilson, Francesco Clemente, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Shirin Neshat and Oliviero Toscani.
Text Description: © Courtesy of Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Metronapoli
Images: © Andrea Resmini, Metronapoli