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The iron decor. How steel workers create ornaments for new stations of St. Peterburg’s subway


Work is in full swing. Fences are being made for the «Begovaya» subway station. The technology is as old as the world itself. Metal is being poured into shapers and fixed with soil - two hours later those are ready. Another matter is that iron workers are used to producing far more detailed elements of decoration.


But even without those, St. Petersburg is the last city in Russia, where iron decorations of the subway’s stations are being carefully looked after. A factory in Moscow was shut down - and there are seemingly regrets about it. Now those are being ordered in the Northern Capital.

Vladimir Filippov, general director of iron and mechanics factory of «Metrostroy»: «Im a little envious that they are about to open 15 new stations. A number of stations were blueprinted by «Lenmetgiprotrans», some typified ornaments were part of that project - and Muscovites ordered those from us».

Every station requires decorations. And its usually an art. Years of work ahead. Workers are ready to do double shifts to make «Prospekt Slavy» look glorious. There are orders for the doors of the new underground hallway. The factory’s produce has decorated 35 stations of the Northern Capital.  

Artem Sharipov, reporter: «This year the factory marks its 110th birthday. Before the war, it was called «Krasnyi Liteyshik». Only in the 1950s it was reshaped to exclusively serve the needs of the subway. Almost every decoration in Leningrad’s and St. Petersburg’s subway was made here - in what looks like a small workshop. And if the designers would ever consider a new logo for the factory, they are sure to draw the black columns of the «Admiralteyskaya» station - the masterpiece of these workers» 

The idea of decorating the columns as a navy outfit came to the architect while at the factory. When he saw the first sketch of the ornament, he thought it was bulky and decided to make it smaller. There are some things though that cannot be changed. Letters for the «Ploshad Vosstaniya» station were also made at the factory, but were attached incorrectly - the I letter sticks out. 

Anna Bykonya, engineer and architect of St. Petersburg subway’s tunnel systems: «If we turn it around, it will be correct»

Subway decorations are receiving special attention lately - studies are made, fonts are researched, the most popular of them being antiqua. The database to be used for the future stations.