Heart of Russia London Underground train design

• OverviewProcess
Task:
to create a design for a London Underground train.

Heart of Russia, a new unbelievably beautiful train appeared in the London Underground. Each of its cars introduces one of the areas of the Russian culture: ballet, literature, architecture, cinema, painting, space and science.

The exterior of cars is covered with clever, subtle and talented drawings. Gentle ballerinas dance while a sad Leo Tolstoy is hiding in birch trees and Pavlov’s dog intensely looks at a light bulb that lights up at every station (hello, conditioned reflex!).

The train alone can inspire more interest and love for Russia than all international PR services altogether. It’s hardly any wonder that the train was designed at Art. Lebedev Studio.

The train’s color scheme is blue, white and red, a delicate metaphor for international friendship (these colors are found on the flags of both countries). The design also makes use of many shades of gold to make it more solemn.

Heart of Russia, a new unbelievably beautiful train appeared in the London Underground. Each of its cars introduces one of the areas of the Russian culture: ballet, literature, architecture, cinema, painting, space and science.

The exterior of cars is covered with clever, subtle and talented drawings. Gentle ballerinas dance while a sad Leo Tolstoy is hiding in birch trees and Pavlov’s dog intensely looks at a light bulb that lights up at every station (hello, conditioned reflex!).

The train alone can inspire more interest and love for Russia than all international PR services altogether. It’s hardly any wonder that the train was designed at Art. Lebedev Studio.


The train’s color scheme is blue, white and red, a delicate metaphor for international friendship (these colors are found on the flags of both countries). The design also makes use of many shades of gold to make it more solemn.

Images on the cars visually flow into one another: the car on space, for example, is located next to the car on cinema, so a lunar landscape transforms into a scene from White Sun of the Desert. This is also a reference to the famous ritual: International Space Station astronauts watch the movie before every mission. Such is the tradition.

Each of the seven cars is devoted to its own theme and showcases Russia’s contributions to various fields of science, culture and art.


Architecture

The head car is dedicated to Moscow architecture. The beautiful pattern captures the image of the whole city in a single frame: an abundance of architectural masterpieces and an abundance of concrete high-rise buildings. The Kremlin, Melnikov House, the Mosselprom building, the Shukhov and Ostankino towers—a typical concrete jungle. Welcome to Moscow! And hello to our friends from the Moscow Architecture Commission!

The car is decorated with a white stripe typical for classic Moscow Metro trains.

Science

This car presents export achievements of Russian science. Here is the periodic table with its endless list of elements, here is Pavlov’s dog looking hopefully at a light bulb. It’s easy to see that this is Pavlov’s dog and not any other dog in the world for two reasons.

First, because the caption says so. Second, because the dog has saliva dripping. The bulb lights up, the dog experiences hunger, all strictly in line with the experiment.

Ballet

The illustrations for this car turned out to be almost as gentle and refined as the Russian ballet itself. We carefully chose the main ballet symbols: the Bolshoi Theatre, Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons and Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballets.

The Nutcracker bares his teeth, the swans swim and the semantic center of the composition is a beautiful and atmospheric picture with ballerinas.

Art

The expressive and memorable car paints a picture of Russian art through the famous works of Russian painters and architects: Bathing of the Red Horse by Petrov-Vodkin, Peacock in Bright Sunlight by Goncharova and Tatlin’s Tower.

The space between cars is cleverly executed with Malevich’s Black Square turning into black outer space.

Space

The Space car was created with the motto “Let’s show everything that has ever happened to Russians in space!” Gagarin, Leonov, Tereshkova, Belka and Strelka, stars, planets, a flying astronaut! The design is as detailed as an encyclopedia and as wonderful as the Earth in a spaceship viewport.

Oh, one more thing: since the Space car “flows” out of Black Square, it’s design also includes references to Suprematism.

Cinema

Here we remembered the legendary Russian films: Battleship Potemkin, Solaris, The Cranes Are Flying.

Interesting fact: at the end of the car is a picture of Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes and the presentation of the train took place on Baker Street.

Literature

The car cleverly reminds Londoners about the modest grandeur of Russian literature. Pushkin and the learned cat hide under the oak tree, Leo Tolstoy is looking in the distance and next to them is a pleasant young man Rodion Raskolnikov, shyly holding an axe.

Beautiful posters and useful souvenirs were produced to celebrate the launch of the train. There are seven types of souvenirs, each for its own theme.

The launch of the train is dedicated to the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education.

art director

  • Artemy Lebedev

designer

  • Egor Zhgun

illustrators

  • Yana Moskalyuk
  • Lizaveta Romantsova
  • Irina Zolotareva
  • Albina Gainullina
  • Daria Kravetz

technical designers

  • Maxim Lukashevich
  • Natalya Agafonova

editor

  • Aleksandr Nosikov

translators

  • Tatiana Kozlova
  • Konstantin Lazutin

project manager

  • Alla Bryuzgina
  • The studio wishes to thank Anna Ermalitskaya, Andrey Kuzin and Aleksandr Korobko for their help with the project
Metro  City  Graphic design  Public transport 
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