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“UNIVERSITÀ” SUBWAY STATION BY KARIM RASHID, NAPLES
Monday 05 Dec 2011
M.N. Metropolitana di Napoli commissioned Atelier Mendini, the Italian architectural and design studio for the renovation project of the surrounding Bovio square, while for the subway station, the company selected Karim Rashid, who in turn chose DuPont Corian hi-tech surfaces for a variety of sculptural wall and column cladding applications in four different levels of the station. The new station is the first of five that integrate Naples' subway line 1, which serves strategic areas of the city and is part of the "Art Stations" network devised by M.N. Metropolitana di Napoli. The "Art Stations", with each project conceived by internationally renowned architects, are characterised by wide, high-traffic, functional spaces, enriched both internally and externally by sculpture, installations and contemporary artworks.
Thousands of passengers daily can now quickly access the academic and multi-cultural area around the "Università" metro station while enjoying the inspiring interiors conceived by Karim Rashid. The first encounter with these decorative surfaces is at the mezzanine level of the new subway station, which is structured with four dramatically shaped columns clad with DuPont Corian in the deep black Nocturne colour.
The fluid shapes, eye-popping colours and iconic symbols on the walls, distinctive of Karim Rashid's signature style, are also made with DuPont Corian. To add to an extensive chromatic selection for this high-performance surface, DuPont specially developed two new tones - lime and pink - in order to enable the designer to achieve his vision for this project. The overall result is an astonishing and unique environment for a subway station: curved walls, sculptural columns, vivid colours and graphics all conferring a strong spatial personality. A connecting corridor is enhanced by sinuously shaped white walls that explore the creative flexibility made possible by cladding. The vast dimensions involved (approximately 100 metres), together with the wall's irregular and organic curvature (with details discretely incorporated within), as well as the glossy finish, required highly skilled and complex fabrication. To ensure the optimum result, the precise expertise of bsolid, a Naples-based company specialised in the fabrication of DuPont Corian, undertook the work.
The entire interior concept for the "Università" subway station is intended to stimulate and inspire both imagination and reflection. Beyond guiding the traveler through this underground space in a fresh and exciting way, the decorative and structural elements are designed to create a link between the pragmatic functionality of the station and the academic and multi-cultural relevance of this district of the city.
This ambitious project also demonstrates the extraordinary potential of DuPont Corian, which thanks to its thermoformability and seamless joining, enables visual continuity and a powerful aesthetic impact. The wide range of colours offered, plus DuPont's ability to create custom-made colours, has contributed indispensably to a colourful underground environment full of verve and energy. What's more, the durability, easy maintenance and repairability of the material will ensure this high-traffic environment maintains its distinctive beauty for the long term.