Transport for London Crossrail
Crossrail is one of Europe’s largest ever infrastructure projects – a scheme to deliver a major new railway line for central London and its surrounding towns and cities.
Partnering with our founders, designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Map has played a central role in the project, designing the interiors for all of Crossrail’s new rolling stock. Passengers’ experience of the new railway, the Elizabeth Line, will be entirely mediated by Map’s design.
Barber, Osgerby and Map won the project after a rigorous pitching process, which called for a simple design solution that could serve all trains running on the Elizabeth Line. The team were able to bring their wide range of expertise from across industrial design, furniture, and architecture to create a holistic interior informed by a deep understanding of the passenger experience.
The final design, which is due to be introduced in 2022, is driven by the team’s love of craft and making, creating a comfortable, memorable and functional space in which passengers can discover the new line.
Each train is just over 200m long, featuring nine walk-through carriages and a capacity of up to 1,500 passengers. Throughout the design process, Map worked closely with Transport for London to realise an interior that not only captures the design heritage of the company, but also embodies its future ambitions.
The final design will stand the test of time both visually and functionally – a worthwhile successor to the classic designs of the London Underground.
Transport for London Crossrail
Transport for London (TFL) is one of the UK capital’s defining institutions: a network of trains and buses that keep London moving, and whose design history, from Harry Beck’s Tube map onwards, is second to none.
Map was honoured, therefore, to win the project to design all of the new train interiors and livery for the newest addition to this network, Crossrail – one of Europe’s largest ever infrastructure projects, delivering a major new under- and overground railway line for central London and its surrounding towns and cities.
Partnering with our founders, designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, as well as our sister practice Universal Design Studio, Map has played a central role in Crossrail. From the graphics on the train’s exterior that are the first thing you see when it pulls into the station, to every detail of the carriage’s interiors, Map’s work will define passengers’ experience of the new line.
The team’s multidisciplinary expertise saw them secure the commission following an extensive pitching process, which called for a single design solution for all trains running on the Elizabeth Line. The final design, which is due to be introduced in 2022, is driven by the team’s love of craft and making, and intended to both honour TFL’s design heritage, while also embodying its future ambitions.
Each train is just over 200m long, featuring nine walk-through carriages and a capacity of up to 1,500 passengers. The train was a blank canvas, with Map able to design every element from scratch, creating an interior space that feels like a seamless addition to the wider network, while also elevating design standards and passenger experience within TFL to a new level.
At floor level, the train interior is dark, gradually lightening in an ombre effect as it moves up towards the white ceiling. Meanwhile, the carriage’s lighting shines not only top to bottom, but also left to right – a warm, wash of light that runs across the train’s cabin walls, creating a softer, more welcoming environment for passengers.
The train’s seats feature a shared arm rest, referencing those on the Bakerloo Line, providing an intuitive spot where you can naturally place your elbow. It's a detail that creates a more relaxed space, preventing the familiar experience of wrestling for space on a busy train. New grab rails, meanwhile, support comfortable standing, with Map’s design for this element now due to be adapted by TFL and used more widely across its services.
Crossrail’s branding is defined by royal purple (a nod to Queen Elizabeth II), with this colour picked up in both the graphic lines that race across the train’s exterior to emphasis the speed of the service, as well as the moquette that upholsters the train’s seats, which has been designed by renowned textile studio Wallace Sewell.
The Elizabeth Line passes from central London out into the countryside, and this journey from urban to rural is emphasised through details, colours and material choices throughout the train. Castings and handrails are stainless steel, allowing them to develop a patina and age beautifully over time, while a welcoming doormat greets passengers as they board the service.
All of the touchpoints within the train are black, creating a more characterful, premium identity for TFL, while a kickboard at the base of the train protects the interior from damage and helps keep the space’s design clean and simple. Similarly, all of the train’s interior elements are raised off the floor to reduce cleaning time, with sharp corners also having been eschewed to prevent dirt from becoming trapped.
Crossrail is TFL’s vision of what its services can look like moving forward, and Map and the rest of the design team have reflected this ambition in their response to the brief. Everything about the Elizabeth Line has been designed to fit together naturally to create a coherent whole – a holistic approach towards design which owes a debt to the background and expertise of those involved, while also honouring the need to reflect upon the total passenger experience.
- Transport for London
- Map Team
- Scott Barwick, Will Howe, Laetitia de Allegri, Alex Hulme, Jacky Chung + Matteo Fogale
- Client Team
- John Hunter + Paul Marchant
- Wallace Sewell
- Petr Krejčí