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Stib's new tram and metro rewarded for Art Nouveau design

15:17 25/06/2023

With Brussels' Year of Art Nouveau in full swing, the city’s public transport operator Stib has picked up two awards for its Art Nouveau-inspired vehicle designs.

The design world’s equivalent of an Oscar, the Red Dots are international awards given by the Design Zentrum in Essen, Germany.

The Stib'ss Tram Nouvelle Generation (TNG) and new M7 metro were both honoured in the product design category.

Antwerp design bureau Yellow Window, founded by Axel Enthoven, had the Art Nouveau curves beloved of the father of Belgian Art Nouveau, Victor Horta, in mind when creating the interior and exterior design of the new Stib vehicles.

Yellow Window also participated in the design of the 3000 and 4000 trams, the M6 metro vehicles and the newest buses in the Stib fleet.

“These two prizes are international recognition of the importance given by the Brussels public transport company to the design of all its vehicles from conception stage,” Stib said, underlining that creating a vehicle was more than a question of performance, accessibility, technical innovation, comfort and safety.

"Exterior and interior design is also essential so that commuters feel good on board," Stib added.

The company added that the importance it places on design is further reflected in its new Stib publicity posters, also influenced by the Art Nouveau movement.

In addition, a special photo exhibition in September reflecting Stib’s links with Brussels architecture will highlight the winners of a photo competition on design and Art Nouveau.

It is not the first time that Stib has been rewarded for its tram design and quality. In 2007, the Art Nouveau look of trams T3000 and T4000 (the TNG’s predecessors) was rewarded by the prestigious Design Vlaanderen Henry Van de Velde label.

These trams have also received the Flemish Interieur Foundation’s Design at Work award for their elegant lines, colour composition and original lighting.

For Stib chief executive Brieuc de Meeûs, Art Nouveau architecture contributes to making Brussels into a splendid and agreeable place to live.

“The design of our vehicles marries perfectly with the aesthetic of this artistic movement, that gives Brussels so much charm,” he said.

Brussels has about 1,000 Art Nouveau-influenced buildings. The first – the Hôtel Tassel, at rue Paul Emile Janson 6 – was constructed in 1893 by Horta. Seen as the Art Nouveau capital, Brussels is now celebrating the 130th anniversary of this movement.

Written by Liz Newmark