A grand appearance for Berlin’s shopping railway stations

 Idea: railway stations in the best light

Railway stations are the window to the world and the gateway to the city. The railway stations in the capital city of Berlin are both important transport hubs and attractive shopping stations. This is because the concept of the modern railway station has changed fundamentally, especially in recent years. They are places where people feel comfortable and enjoy a varied programme of experiences in addition to travelling and shopping.

Since 2019, the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS team has been putting the “My Shopping Station” brand in the spotlight at various railway stations in the capital.

2021 “Creating Tomorrow”

To mark this year’s “European Year of Rail”, “Mein Einkaufsbahnhof” and Deutsche Bahn called for a common and sustainable Europe. Numerous campaigns, spread throughout 2021, were intended to activate and motivate society to rely more on rail as a means of transport and thus protect the environment. In connection with this year’s festival motto, ten selected Berlin railway stations sent out a bright signal: “Green is more than an attitude. It is the future.” Each individual lighting installation on the station buildings addressed this important topic in a different way and encouraged the audience to reflect.

The highlight was the 3D video projection at Berlin Ostbahnhof, on the facade of the Intercity Hotel. Station clocks ran backwards, faster and faster. Tracks built up into a widely ramified rail network. The facade showed a three-dimensional picture journey through the history of trains and the development of trains up to today’s modern and sustainable carriages. The perspective then rotated and took visitors on a (train) journey through cities, mountain worlds, past lakes and typical landscapes. “Get on board!” called the final image and … the two- and three-dimensional production started again. Europe’s largest junction station showed colourful still images on the theme of the “Year of Rail” in Europe, which came to life with augmented reality. The other locations were railway stations in the neighbourhoods of Lichtenberg, Lichterfelde Ost, Pankow, Frohnau, Sonnenallee, Warschauer Straße, Anhalter Bahnhof and Hackescher Markt. Visitors enjoyed large, very colourful illustrations of protected animals such as bees, butterflies and swallows and imaginative floral motifs.

2020 “Together we shine”

Values such as gratitude, compassion, solidarity, hope, confidence and love formed the themes of the light displays in the first year of the pandemic. A variety of motifs symbolised the freedom of art at Berlin Central Station, Hackescher Markt, Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Straße. The light tour in Berlin’s neighbourhoods provided a glowing highlight for young and old for one evening at each of eight selected S-Bahn stations. At Savignyplatz, as in the previous year, the floating, glowing red poppies awaited visitors. At Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station, artistic projections captured the architecture and surroundings in an abstract interplay of shapes and colours, transporting evening strollers into a very special atmosphere. The theme of travelling, seeing and reunion was explored on the façade of Ostbahnhof station, while visitors to Warschauer Straße were even able to experience augmented reality with the new Festival of Lights app.

2019 “Lights of Freedom”

To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the festival bathed the city and its railway stations in the light of freedom. Light installations at the former Friedrichstraße border station told stories of longing, homesickness, farewells and reunions. At the main station and Hackescher Markt station, powerful pop art motifs symbolised the freedom of art. The motifs drew on the special architecture of the station facades and skilfully staged them. At Alexanderplatz station, young artists created their own interpretation of freedom with neon tape art. The garish neon effects created by the station lighting on the tape art images were particularly impressive. At Zoologischer Garten station, luminous figures in stop-motion and with matching sounds presented a global story of freedom by constantly moving from one continent to another. On the façade of the InterCityHotel at Ostbahnhof, a piece of Berlin’s railway station past was brought to life with the help of a collage of historical views. And at Savignyplatz station, festival visitors enjoyed the “Floraison” light installation. Glowing flowers floated lightly and freely in the sky, transforming the station passageway into a dancing sea of flowers with every breath of wind.

Success: “My shopping railway station” becomes an experience

Every festival year, the artistic and effective staging of the stations attracts a lot of attention and positive feedback from the media, the public and Deutsche Bahn employees. And this success reflects on the ” My Shopping Railway Station” brand. It is gaining recognition and reputation.