From Modernism to Metro Maps: Mondrian, Beck, and Salomon

Peter B. Lloyd

Abstract


Many people have noted a suggestive parallel between the abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian and the design of metro maps such as Henry Beck’s map of the London Underground. Is this just a superficial similarity or is there some more substantive point of connection? This article speculates that the ‘dynamic equilibrium’, which gave Mondrian’s mature pictures their inimitable psychological force, could also be at work in the most iconic metro maps, such as those of Henry Beck and George Salomon. If so, then the automatic generation of metro maps to an acceptable quality may entail the daunting task of operationalising this dynamic balance and encoding it in computer software. 


Keywords


Abstract Art; Graphic Design; Metro Maps; Cognition; Urbanism

Full Text:

PDF

References


Agani, Asaf A., ‘A Tale of Two Maps: Analysis of the London Underground “Diagram”’, Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications, 21.3 (2013), 7-16 <https://doi.org/10.1177/1064804613489125> [accessed 28 May 2015]

Al-Saati, Abdulaziz, ‘Mondrian: Neo-Plasticism and its influences in Architecture’, Journal of the Faculty of Architecture of the Middle East Technical University (M.E.T.U.), 10.1-2, (1990), 63-74 <http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258> [accessed 28 May 2015]

Ashton-Smith, Alan, ‘Algebra of the Visual: The London Underground Map and the Art It Has Inspired’, NANO (New American Notes Online), 1 (2011) <http://nanocrit.com/issues/issue> [accessed 17 June 2015]

Elkins, James, Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction (London: Routledge, 2003)

Garland, Ken, Mr Beck’s Underground Map (Harrow Weald: Capital Transport Publishing,1994)

Garland, Ken, email to author, 11 June 2015

Hobsbawm, Eric, Behind the Times: The Decline and Fall of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Gardes (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999)

Holtzman, Harry, and Martin S. James, eds., The New Art—The New Life: The Collected Works of Piet Mondrian (Boston: Da Capo Press, 1986)

Jaffé, Hans L. C. ed., De Stijl, trans. by R. R. Symonds and Mary Whitall (London: Thames & Hudson, 1970)

Lloyd, Peter B., Vignelli: Transit Maps (Rochester: RIT Press, 2012)

Lubbock, Tom, ‘Great Works: The London Underground Map (1931)’, The Independent, 14 August 2009 <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts> [accessed 18 June 2015]

McManus, Ian Christopher, ‘“The anti-developmental, the anti-narrative, the anti-historical”: Mondrian as a Paradigmatic Artist for Empirical Aesthetics’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36.2 (2013), 152-153 <https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X12001720> [accessed 28 May 2015]

McManus, Ian Christopher, B. Cheema, and J. Stoker, ‘The Aesthetics of Composition: A Study of Mondrian’, Empirical Studies of the Arts, 11 (1993), 83-94 <https://doi.org/10.2190/HXR4> [accessed 28 May 2015]

Mondrian, Piet, Le Néo-Plasticisme: Principe général de l’équivalence plastique (Paris: Editions de l’Effort moderne, 1920)

Nadel, Ira B., Modernism’s Second Act, A Cultural Narrative (New York: Palgrave, 2013) <https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137323378> [accessed 28 May 2015]

Nicholson, Ben, Naum Gabo, and Leslie Martin, Circle: An International Survey of Constructivism (London: Faber & Faber, 1937), pp. 41-56

Roberts, Maxwell J., ‘Understanding Schematic Mapping through Usability and Design Experiments’, The Cartographic Journal 94 (forthcoming, 2017)

Roberts, Maxwell J., and Doug Rose, ‘Map-induced Journey-planning Biases for a Simple Network: A Docklands Light Railway Study’, Transportation Research Part A, 94 (2016), 446-460 <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2016.09.023> [accessed 9 January 2017]

Roberts, Maxwell J., and Ida C.N. Vaeng, ‘Expectations and Prejudices Usurp Judgements of Schematic Map Effectiveness’, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference, Brighton, 27-30 June 2016 <http://www.tubemapcentral.com/articles/Roberts_Vaeng_DRS2016_2016.pdf> [accessed 13 November 2016]

Rosati, Luca, ‘La mappa della metropolitana di Londra: una lezione di information design’, Lucarosati (19 November 2008) <http://lucarosati.it/blog/mappa> [accessed 18 June 2015]

Mondrian, Piet, Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art, 1937, and Other Essays, 1941-1943 (New York: Wittenborn and Company, 1945)

Salomon, Frank, interviewed by author, 23 July 2015

Spalding, Frances, ‘Abstract Art: From the Radical to the Everyday’, The Guardian, 10 January 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jan/10/geometric> [accessed 28 May 2015]

Stott, Jonathan M., and Peter Rodgers, ‘Automatic Metro Map Design Techniques’, in Proceedings of the 22nd International Cartographic Conference (Barcelona: International Cartographic Association, 2005)

Stott, Jonathan M., ‘Automatic Layout of Metro Maps Using Multicriteria Optimisation’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Kent, 2008)




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24134/be.v1i1.38

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2017 Peter B. Lloyd

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/