It was the station site that Her Majesty visited during construction to mark the renaming of the Elizabeth line in her honour. And now – after a five month delay – the new Bond Street station has opened, providing a step-free link to W1 and one of the busiest shopping districts in London. The ‘jewel in the crown’ of the capital’s transport system is a vision of polished design, with thought-provoking artwork adorning the ultra-modern walls. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Bond Street station on the Elizabeth line.
The recently-opened Bond Street Elizabeth line station is a feat of not just modern engineering, but also modern classical design with specially-commissioned artwork, sleek architecture and characterful touches in keeping with its Mayfair surroundings.
The new step-free station, which welcomed its first passengers this week, is a key hub in Crossrail’s new Elizabeth line network and is set to be one of its busiest. Connected to the existing Bond Street underground station network, the new station will allow direct access to the West End from outside the capital and will be able to accommodate around 140,000 people a day – double the number using the station previously.
With so many passengers passing through the cavernous space, its design had to be both striking and user-friendly. This task was given to architects John McAslan + Partners (you’ll recognise their work at Millbank Tower, the new Sloane Street development and Thameside West, to name a few of their projects in the capital).
While the gleaming new station shares a consistent look and feel with other Elizabeth line central stations, the architectural practice has taken inspiration for its design from the surrounding W1 area, and so you’ll find design nuances that incorporate the neighbourhood’s historic buildings, art galleries and vibrant retail scene.
Nowhere more so than the areas above ground. The station has two new spacious, colonnaded station entrances and ticket halls at street level, one on Davies Street, near Oxford Street, the other at Hanover Square, near Regent Street. Both feature soaring coffered ceilings and floor-to-ceiling colonnade windows that flood the spaces with natural light. The areas feature sandstone and Portland stone, two locally, characteristic materials, used to ensure the station blends well with the look and character of its immediate surroundings. Fluted bronze columns are another nod to the past, referencing the classic Underground stations designed by Charles Holden in the 1930s. Bronze panelling, glazed window panels and terrazzo flooring add to the elegance.
“Bond Street Station will be one of the busiest on the Elizabeth line, providing a significant new gateway for those travelling to London’s West End,” explains John McAslan + Partners’ Head of Transport Colin Bennie. “It was therefore important to create legible entrances while establishing a compelling narrative with the existing physical and cultural character of the area, referencing local material and form. We also wanted to lift the user experience through the use of daylight, generous linked spaces and the integration of artwork, maximising visibility and creating connections.”
Three specially-commissioned conceptual artworks by British artist Darren Almond elevate the spaces further, sited above and around the escalators of the Davies Street entrance as part of the Art programme of the Elizabeth line. The installations, created with the support of gallery partner White Cube, Selfridges and the City of London, draw inspiration from British railway history. The first, ‘Horizon Line’ is a large grid of fragmented numbers in aluminium, made up of 144 gleaming hand-polished tiles designed to reference daily routines, timetables and schedules. Positioned above the main escalators, its purpose is to create a landscape of continual movement and to echo the paths of travellers as they descend underground.
“Before you’ve even physically begun a journey you are already thinking in a numerical language: the first question we all ask ourselves is, ‘What time is the train?’ So it seemed appropriate to mark the starting point of the journey with a work engaged in a similar language,” explains the artist.
Almond’s other two pieces – ‘Shadow Line’ and ‘Time Line’ – are based around the tradition of naming early British locomotives with cast bronze nameplates, though these ones bear the poetic phrases ‘Reflect from your shadow’ and ‘From under the glacier’. All three abstract works, say Crossrail, serve to remind the passenger about the mechanics of time and place, and the daily rhythm of the station: descent, ascent, arrival and departure.
When you descend the escalators (incidentally the longest on the Elizabethan line and the second longest on the TfL network) below ground is no less impressive. The two deep, east-west platforms are also the longest of the newly-built stations at 255 metres.
But it’s not just the station that is new. Next to the Hanover Square entrance is now a pedestrian square called Medici Courtyard – a development of brand new offices, retail units and luxury residential apartments and the first public courtyard to open in Mayfair for over a century. While above both entrances, retail and office developments are also being built, providing a further uplift to the W1 area.
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries
“Bond Street is at the heart of London’s thriving retail, cultural, hospitality and leisure industries, and the opening of the Elizabeth Line station is a huge boost to the area, helping deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to build a better London for everyone,” Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said to mark the opening.
“The new station continues London’s fantastic tradition of bringing inspiring art to the travelling public. Darren Almond’s work beautifully honours the history and heritage we associate with the underground and railway network. I’m so happy Londoners will be able to view them while making their way through the newly opened station.”