Länsimetro (Western metro) opened in the autumn of 2017 and expanded the metro network of the capital area of Helsinki to Espoo side. There are eight metro stations in the new 14 kilometers long rails: Lauttasaari, Koivusaari, Keilaniemi, Aalto-university, Urheilupuisto, Niittykumpu and Matinkylä.
The essential solution was the integration of light and architecture into a coherent entirety. Each station has its own identity, which was created from the synergy of architecture, art, and light. The role of the lighting has been carefully considered, and the solution is a restrained but architecturally high-class, designed to function in people’s everyday lives. The impression of quality is created by repetitive lighting principles, no-glare solutions, sufficient lighting levels, and the integration of the lighting.
The lighting principle was to use vertical surfaces and highlight horizontal spots, which makes perception and movement more comfortable. Lighting is placed on the back of the glass surfaces where it lines up space. The sufficient light level is taken care of with general illumination. With the possibility to control the lighting, the balance between general and accent lighting is adjustable. The controllable lighting makes it possible to change the contrast and, thus, the mood and the light levels between darker and daylight hours.
Helsinki metro stations are an excellent example of light, architecture, and housing techniques integration possibilities. In underground spaces, the meaning of light is fundamental. Because there is no contact with the outside, the lighting must also work psychologically.
The illumination is part of the architecture, which one key feature is visual durability. Finding balance with this durability and straightforward normality is challenging. Still, cooperation and the recognition of the lighting’s aesthetical meaning already at the beginning of the process have made possible balanced but exciting lighting experience.