As part of the programme extending the Tyne and Wear Metro to Sunderland and beyond the artist Morag Morrison was commissioned to develop a comprehensive colour strategy for the stations and their enclosures.
Starting points for her work ranged from the functional requirements detailed in the formal brief through to her own emotional response to the immediate environment of the line itself.
‘I walked along the route of the line to get a feeling of the changing landscape and it was amazing. It was a fantastic day, really clear and cold, and I was struck by the raw beauty of the surroundings and the intensity of the natural light which is unique to the North East. I felt there was a need to use colours much more sympathetic to the landscape'.
Her approach was to develop a fairly neutral palette for external elements of the station buildings in contrast to the stronger colours chosen for the vitreous enamelled panels used in platform shelters and ticketing areas. These are the most consistent element of the station designs and also the most visible from the trains. The design of this single element allowed the artist a freer hand in using applied colour in subtle and diverse ways.
In this way the intention was to reduce the visual impact of the station enclosure on its immediate surroundings and to enliven their internal presence with the use of coloured panels. As the arrangement of colours changes with each station this also serves to strengthen the visual identity of each station as seen from the train.