For this Photographing Public Art Challenge, which is hosted by Marsha, I thought I would go with some Italian design. Not Ferrari’s and not clothes from Milan, although that city will be part of the post. We’re going to look at railway design and architecture 🙂

I was trying to think of how to sequence the images in a meaningful way. In the end, I’m going to work backwards in time, so lets start with the Pendolino. Pendolino’s are tilting trains built by Fiat Ferroviaria using technology that was first pioneered in the UK with the Advanced Passenger Train. The idea is to use the tilting technology to allow faster speeds on lines that cannot be made more straight due to terrain. Here are two RABe 503 trains operated by Cisalpino from Zurich and Geneva to Milano, seen in Milano Centrale station…

…These trains entered service from 2008.

A somewhat older example of Italian design were the Settebello trains. These luxury high speed electric units featured observation lounges at both ends of the train. They were built for the Milano to Roma services with stops at Bologna and Firenze. They entered service in 1953 and were finally phased out in 1984. I was lucky to photograph the sole preserved example in Santa Maria Novella station, Firenze, back in 2009…

…Its 1950’s elegance contrasting with the angular modern unit on the left.

Santa Maria Novella station in Firenze is a classic example of Italian Modernism, designed by the Gruppo Toscano. After approval from Benito Mussolini, construction began in 1932 and the station opened in 1934. Here is a view of the main concourse…

Returning to Milano Centrale – the foundation block of this station was laid in 1906 but full construction rights were not awarded to architect Ulisse Stacchini until 1912! – his design resembling Washington Union Station. The Italian financial crisis during the First World War combined with many design changes stalled its construction. Work recommenced in 1925 and the station officially opened in 1931. Here is a shot of the concourse…

…In the modern world, it now seems cramped with the volume of passengers using the station and it’s interesting to compare with open spaces of Firenze S.M.N completed just 3 years later!

The third week of the Photographing Public Art Challenge and this week Marsha is hosting. If you pop over to her blog you can read a fascinating post about the Prescott Petroglyphs 🙂

I’m going to start off by bending the rules a little – well, the guidelines at least. “The art should be visible from streets, sidewalks or outdoor public places.” – is fine and dandy but I think there are some indoor public places that will be missed if we stick strictly to that. For example, many churches have wonderful art and are open to the public for prayer and just to visit. So I’m starting this week with a stained-glass window…

…This is the west window of St Thomas of Canterbury, the parish church of Northaw. The church is dedicated to St. Thomas a Beckett, and was built in 1882. The windows were added between 1886 and 1897 and were the work of Ward and Hughes. The west window bears the dedication ‘To the glory of God a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee’ – it depicts the life of Joseph.

Talking of Queen Victoria – here’s a statue of her that adorns the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace…

Here’s a small Mosiac in an underpass outside Waterloo station in London. It directs pedestrians to the bus station but can you tell me what’s wrong with the bus as depicted? (no ‘bus-spotter’ knowledge needed)…

To finish this week, here is a sculpture by the artist Sean Henry…

…called Woman (Being Looked At), it was part of a mini exhibition in The Economist Plaza back in 2012. The statue is made of bronze and cor-ten steel, coloured with all-weather paint.

That’s my selection for this week, gleaned from my back catalogue. Hopefully I’ll have some fresh shots next week 🙂

This week it’s Cee’s turn to host the PPAC so you may want to visit and take a look at her chosen images.

I have a couple of shots from St Pancras Station, the first of which is a piece of public art by Tracey Emin CBE, RA. ‘I want my time with you’ is a call for travellers to stop and take a moment…

…It’s certainly worth stopping to take a look at Barlow’s magnificent trainshed. It was refurbished as part of the rebuilding of St.Pancras station for international services through the channel tunnel, which completed in 2007. Included in the rebuild was restoration of the clock, which had been absent for many years. Here’s a shot showing more of Barlow’s trainshed as it was in the 1980’s…

Away from the railway, but another example of a public work of art hung high above where people walk. The John Lewis store on Oxford Street has this abstract sculpture…

…Titled ‘Winged Figure’, it is the work of Dame Barbara Hepworth and is made of aluminium with steel rods.

Finally, back to the railway and an example of mobile art…

…Graffiti on a passing hopper wagon at Ealing Broadway. Graffiti will probably feature in quite a few posts for this challenge 😉