Subway stations aren’t always nice places where you want to spend a lot of time waiting for your train to come, some might be more pleasant than others but generally people don’t really like to hang around there for too long.

There is one in particular in Hamburg that we accidentally walked in which might be an exception. In fact it is one of the few subway stations I didn’t mind stopping in for longer than necessary and even missing the train.

I’m talking about HafenCity-University Station in Hamburg, designed in a very modern way but still meeting and representing the past of the area it is built in.

Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (1)

In fact for its lucky location by the Elbe River, HafenCity used to be a very busy and important shipping center for Hamburg. Today HafenCity is part of a very big project – of which some are already in place and some are still a work in progress – where hotels, offices, residential houses and other structures like museums will soon replace some of the former port warehouses and empty dock spaces.

Walking around the beautiful warehouse area of Hamburg, we already saw some changes (especially in the HafenCity area) where we noticed how some old buildings have been brought back to life mixing past and future in perfect harmony.

Canal in warehouse area, Hamburg - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Hamburg Science Center - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station

HafenCity-University Subway Station is part of this big project and to me it looks like it fits in perfectly. I personally think that the architect firm Raupach Architekten and the lighting designers Pfarre Lighting Design worked together beautifully to create something astounding to the eyes that follows fully the original project’s intention.

Everything Binds Together Perfectly

Everything of this futuristic looking subway station has a thought behind it, from the use of certain materials, shapes and the colours.

The ‘cold’ steel platform is ‘warmed’ up by the reflection of the changing colors coming from the metal-frame glass boxes placed in the middle between the two rails. These huge ‘lights’ apparently weight 6 tons each and have exactly the same dimension of a shipping container – they surely look like them too – to recall and relate to the area where the subway station is located. I’ve also learnt that every metal box has energy saving LED lights of which colors can be coordinated all together or controlled as single units.

Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (2)
Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (3)
Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (4)
Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (5)

It is certainly a well-thoughtout design and what I liked the most about it is the reflections the lights create on the walls, on the floor, on the escalator and on each individual element dotted around the the station.

Red Light reflection - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Blue Light reflection - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Light reflection - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Elevator - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (6)

We were both standing there and staring at the entire place, waiting for the lights to change to the next color and see how they affected the whole area. Strong reds, bright greens, light and dark blues, pink and vibrant purples were alternating creating a nice and harmonic composition. We had our favorite colour moments of course, mine was
when the Red was on and Dale’s when the Light Blue took over.

Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station (7)
Blue Light - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Red Light - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station
Green Light - Hamburg's New Lightastic Subway Station

I guess it’s needless to say at this point that we loved the modern design, the choice of the materials and the game of reflections used to meet the unique concept behind HafenCity-University Subway Station. I love what creativity can do to places! 🙂

Have you passed through any other cool stations like this?