Amsterdam South WTC Station
Fairy-like fantasy landscape as a counterbalance
Railroad company ProRail invited M2uur bv to design a glass facade at Amsterdam South WTC Station. M2uur bv proposed Elspeth Diederix as the executive artist. Her dreamy design ‘Birdie Birdie,’ forms a sharp contrast to the hectic nature of the business heart of the Netherlands. The production of printed and coated vinyl made realization within the financial frameworks feasible. Part of the artwork is now enjoying a second life at the entrance to a municipal workshop.
Movares, StudioSK/ Nienke van de Lune
M2uur bv, Elspeth Diederix
A large-scale renovation of Amsterdam South-WTC Station began in 2005. Not only did the station have to deal with many more passengers, but the complex was increasingly dissonant with its surroundings. Movares and Studio SK tried to give the station environment more allure with several interventions. Part of this was a glass facade that served as a sound barrier for the A-10 freeway above. This seven-meter-high and forty-meter-long screen lent itself perfectly to a unique interpretation. ProRail engaged M2uur bv to make proposals for the design and realization.
M2uur bv wrote a pitch among artists, designers and photographers from its network. Elspeth Diederix submitted the most appealing sketch design. She wanted her design to counterbalance the hectic and dynamic business environment. For the final design, she built a setting to scale (1:10). She used natural materials, such as branches and blossoms, bird figures and elements made of molded plastic. About twenty little birds are busy with transparent beaded chains that seem to grow out of a bird’s nest. The chains gracefully connect the birds and other elements. In the background, we see the sea and mountains. The clever use of light and backlight is particularly effective and characteristic of Diederix’s work. The scene was captured with a technical camera in a series of images.
In the studio of M2uur bv, the design was technically formatted. First, the technical shots were merged into one continuous design. This image was scaled and then divided into 80 parts. The formats of the panels and joints were calculated to the last millimeter. Each file was coded to facilitate assembly. Otherwise, the images were not edited, to stay as close as possible to Diederix’s style and design philosophy.
Due to the temporary nature of the glass screen, the budget for realization was modest. We, therefore, opted for execution on vinyl. The files were printed in full color on self-adhesive, transparent vinyl. To give the prints extra protection against scratches and discoloration, the vinyl is finished with a laminate. This coating provides a satin finish and matte appearance, contributing to the semi-transparent nature of the design. At manufacturer BRS Steelworks, the sections of vinyl were applied to the glass in a dust-free environment. Thanks to the codes, it was relatively easy on-site in Amsterdam to assemble the panels in the correct order.
The nearly 300 m2 work had a significant impact on the surroundings. Quiet and transparent, cheerful, intriguing, and colorful, it gave visitors something surprising to look at every day. The dreamy, fairy-like design formed a fascinating contrast to the hectic and dynamic nature of the business heart of our country. Four years after completion, another station expansion was on the horizon. The glass screen was torn down. A significant portion of the design was then given a second life at the entrance to an Amsterdam municipal yard.
Amsterdam South WTC Station