John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It’s like walking into a cartoon.
Imagine the shock waking up one day to find everything has become clunky, nonfunctional models of the real things. You might get a similar jolt walking into London’s newest tube station, a life-sized wooden fake seemingly escaped from a hand-drawn cartoon.
The ersatz station was made by local artist Camilla Barnard for this year’s London Design Festival. Barnard is an expert in creating sculptural forgeries—don’t ever let her sell you a “Roger Vivier handbag”—but even so, this project must have tested her talents to the max. It’s packed with turnstiles, ticket machines, an emergency intercom, high-voltage signs, wall advertising, and shakily lettered editions of Metro (headline: “Wooden Station takes LDF by Storm!”). There’s even a system map that looks like something a train-obsessed third-grader might paint:
For the pop-up installation, located at an old art school in Holborn, Barnard collaborated with Transport for London, which wanted to highlight its design program. Visitors could chow down at a nearby restaurant named for Frank Pick, who helped mold the Underground’s vintage brand image, and peruse classic and modern transport-themed design collections. Some more peeks inside: