Aschaffenburg railway station: Into the light blue yonder

Aschaffenburg 2012 – A new pedestrian underpass opened in February as part of the station modernisation programme. It connects the main concourse with the Damm district of the city and the planned park & ride area there. The underground passage is notable for its light and friendly walls with motifs by artist Jo Zeh-Kosanke reproduced on tiles by the Artefactur.


The Artefactur was commissioned to plan and execute an attractive wall design, a work of art based on designs by the artist, that were to be transformed into eight panels on the side walls and end of the 110 metre underpass.


The planning started with a trip to Aschaffenburg where the Artefactur specialists were able to inspect the precise conditions in the underground passage. The first thing they realised was that the height and width of the wall recesses for the tile tableaus varied so that it would not be possible to enlarge all of the 50 x 200 cm designs by the artists into a standardised final format. To compensate for the differences while maintaining the artistic perspective, they opted for a new standard calculation of all formats, enlarging all of the designs in the same way and then adjusting the perspective alignment and cutting the images down to the required size. This proved to be a massive planning task that would not have been possible without the artistic understanding and architectural competence of Artefactur.

The next phase was the actual production of the tiles. To allow for the high stresses in the underpass while ensuring that the artist’s designs were showcased to optimum effect, a digital printing method was chosen. This innovative process enabled the blue areas of the sky, for example, to be controlled individually, which made for an impressive naturalness that reinforces the impact of the design, much to the delight of the artist.

A total of 838 tiles in 60 x 60 cm format were produced for the 280 square metres. The Artefactur also helped with the logistical planning to facilitate assembly work in Aschaffenburg. They developed a precise laying plan, with each tile being given an individual code that permitted the tilers to accurately assemble each of the designs. This practical and convenient service was of the great assistance to the partners in Aschaffenburg since the rapid and simple laying not only improved reliability but also enabled the work to be completed within a very tight schedule in time for the opening.


The artwork in the underground passage in Aschaffenburg is called “Into the light blue yonder”, not without reason: thanks to the powerful colours and precise reproduction of the designs on the tiles the floating elements bring a cheerful transparency and refreshing sense of space to the underpass. The balloons floarting up into the air, butterflies, dandelion seeds, a clock and even a train ticket all arouse a desire to travel to distant places.


A project of the city of Aschaffenburg in cooperation with German Railways.