Metro’s signature indirect lighting scheme is getting a little brighter. Over at GGW, Matt Johnson notes upgrades to the Judiciary Sq Station mezzanine as a means of better illuminating the darker areas of one of the darker stations.
I haven’t yet checked out the new mezzanine lighting in person, but Matt’s photo raises a couple of questions and concerns about Metro’s design legacy. One is a concern that Metro’s new lighting is too cold – meaning, the color temperature of the resulting environment is cold, while Metro’s original design with the concrete, brass, tile, and carpet was very warm.
Conversely, Metro’s most recent design changes seem to get colder and colder. It’s hard to judge these new lights by just a photo, but this isn’t the only case. In my post on Metro’s 7000 series designs (here and at GGW), Laurence Auerbach noted in the comments about Metro’s recent trends towards cooler lighting schemes:
I’ve ridden in the 7000 series design prototype, and it was a truly oppressive experience. A big problem is the color of the walls, partitions, and seat backs. In the old cars it is a warm beige-white that softens the fluorescent lighting. In the new cars the wall color is a cool grey-white that makes the fluorescent lighting even flatter and harsher than it normally is.
My favorite Metro car design is the 6000 series (the most recent), even though I prefer the original orange seat colors. The 6000 series has the best combination of efficient layout, comfortable style, quiet operation, and high quality technical/mechanical features. Metro should build on that success; it should only change the floor material to make it easier to maintain.
The change in visual experience from the original, orange color scheme is indeed striking:
The newer cars, with the white walls, are indeed much brighter. However, when compared to cars without the red carpet flooring, the color experience is much more harsh:
Wondering out loud – could Metro do hard flooring in a red-ish color that’s true to the original train design?