Artistic Design of the Passageway at Meidling Train StationWinner of the Competition: Christian Kosmas Mayer

Artistic Design of the Passageway at Meidling Train Station

Together with the ÖBB it was agreed to realize a permanent artistic design of the passageway at Vienna Meidling station.

The aim is to aesthetically enhance the appearance of the passageway together with the adjacent platform stairways with contemporary art. The passageway shall gain an unmistakable character in order to increase the recognition value of the station and to visually distinguish it from the subway next to it. The redesign of the portals and entrances is intended to make the passageway more attractive for users in the long term. With the help of new, energy-efficient lighting, the installation of luminous ceilings and artistic design, awareness will be created that the passageway is part of a larger system.
The five-member jury selected the design by Christian Kosmas Mayer on February 1, 2023.

Winning design: Christian Kosmas Mayer - "Der verlorene Garten" (The Lost Garden)

With "Der verlorene Garten" (The Lost Garden) Christian Kosmas Mayer brings back something that has disappeared from memory for quite some time: the Prónaygarten, a magnificent Biedermeier garden that had to make way for the construction of the Südbahn, which also resulted in the construction of the Meidling train station. In its time, the Prónaygarten was known beyond the borders of Vienna, especially because of the pelargoniums grown here. There are no longer any pictures of the garden itself. The artist takes advantage of this circumstance by using AI image generators to obtain images of the past garden. The pictorial interweaving of technology, environment and nature by means of artificial intelligence creates a surreal relationship of tension. At first glance, viewers are confronted with supposedly historical engravings or illustrations, which seem artificially generated, repeatedly broken and strangely collaged.
The design is also convincing due to its clever spatial location in the west passage of Meidling station; the passenger corridor becomes an unmistakable, new place where questions can be posed in equal measure to the past, present and future.

--- Statement of the jury

The wall design for the passenger corridor of Meidling station is reminiscent of a unique Biedermeier garden that had to make way for the construction of the Southern Railway in the 19th century.
With every new technology that fundamentally changes our world, a piece of the old world is lost. The accelerated nature of travel through the railroad changed the view of the world, making it seemingly smaller. Until then, exotic gardens represented the only way for many people in Europe to travel to distant places imaginatively, by making plants from the most diverse parts of the world accessible in aesthetic stagings. With the triumph of the railroad, this kind of "immobile travel" lost its significance.
The design "Der verlorene Garten" (The Lost Garden) refers to these historical changes by focusing on a story that makes this transformation comprehensible and links it to the history of the railroad station. It makes this blank space visible. At the same time, the work also makes tangible a completely new technology that will soon fundamentally change the way we see the world.
The images created on the basis of descriptions, which are generated with the help of artificial intelligence and which basically represent synthetic dream worlds, are particularly suitable for this speculative reconstruction. The work aims to question how we construct our social identity through memories and how memory and history are created in the present. "The past can only be viewed through the eyes of the present and the technologies available. On the one hand, the past is an alien world, the ultimate unknown. But that does not mean that there is no truth in memories or that the past is pure fiction. A false memory of something that did not happen in reality has real psychological effects on the life of the person remembering." (Christian Kosmas Mayer)

Further competition entries

Adib Fricke - "Unmittelbarkeiten" (Immediacies)
The artistic proposal "Unmittelbarkeiten" (Immediacies) addresses and contrasts the basic situation of the site - it is not a place to linger, but a non-place in the sense of the French anthropologist Marc Augé. "Four words stand large at selected positions, all on the same mezzanine level. Two of them are directly in the passageway, JETZT (NOW) and HIER (HERE). One is in the passageway "Pottendorfer Linie"", SOGLEICH (SOON), and the other at the transition to the adjacent hall, EVENTUELL (EVENTUALLY). They are adverbs - words that modify other words to specify action and experience. Used artistically in the Wien Meidling train station, these alter the subjective perception of space, both visually in their colorful, powerful impact and as a thought-provoking stimulus. At the same time, the artistic work connects the spatial structure into a unity. The text-based work invites one to linger, physically as well as mentally.
The words can be read together or alone. Their sequence can be interchanged in the imagination. In the minds of the passers-by, diverse combinations with other language units emerge. Associatively and playfully, the terms become daily companions for commuters, for occasional travelers they are a stimulus for departure or arrival, they reflect states of being on the road. In this way, they create a dialogical situation between space and the individual, are locative in an open form, and can themselves become meeting places: We meet at HIER." (Adib Fricke)

Jana Gunstheimer - "Wiener Geflecht" (Viennese wickerwork)
"A classic of furniture covering is the "Wiener Geflecht" (Viennese wickerwork). Six strands, coming from different sides, meet, form a node, diverge and unite with other strands to form further nodes. A network is created. Developed in Vienna, it experienced its heyday around 1900 and its clear aesthetics led to a revolution in interior design.
The Vienna Meidling train station is one of the transportation hubs where long-distance lines intersect with those of regional traffic. In analogy to the ornamental fabric, lines meet, run parallel for some time, cross each other and drift apart in different directions. The design for the façade design of the passageway Vienna Meidling takes up this parallel and develops it into an ornamental overall structure. Starting from the center of Vienna, which is represented by that very mesh, (rail) lines stretch in all directions, traveling to destinations in Europe and beyond. New influences are added and intertwine with the Viennese, forming hybrid forms and joining together to form new ornaments.
These other ornamental weavings are borrowed from the cultures to which the rail lines lead. Ornaments from the Balkans, the Middle East, Israel, and more broadly from Asia, Africa, Latin America mingle with the Wiener Geflecht." (Jana Gunstheimer) The artist fragments and reassembles the fragments (in a digital printing process on glass), mirrors and rotates them - often their origin can only be guessed at. "Wiener Geflecht" refers to the history of Vienna with its rich cultural influences, which for almost 200 years has also been significantly influenced by travel by train. The work can be read as a symbol of cultural interweaving.

Monika Michalko - no title
The Meidling station passage, an underground place of transit, becomes a world of infinite imagination in the design. Surreal paintings transferred onto glass panels - landscapes, trees, urban and village scenes, abstract fragments of industry and geometry, but also corals and clouds - seem to move past the passers-by as they walk through the passage. They invite us to linger and remind us of the human processing of thoughts and what we have seen.
The artist understands the train station as a meeting place and a place of connections. At the same time, it is a fragile mesh. The imaginary worlds of the design are intended to spread a harmonious atmosphere and invite people to engage with intense color spaces that radiate emotional warmth.
The senses of the travelers are addressed, they are artistically "picked up" - with landscape images from the collective subconscious, which become manifest in the glass panels.

Claudia Wieser - "Farben, Formen - Leiten und Orientieren" (Colors, Shapes - Guiding and Orientating)
In her design, Claudia Wieser picks up on essential elements of a guidance system. Full-surface geometric tile images - different in form and color - mark the various areas of the platforms. The guidance system of the Wiener Linien is integrated into the artistic work. An artistic system is created that helps visitors to read the space and to orient themselves in it.
"A guidance system serves the task of informing people about the surroundings in the architectural environment (which is unfamiliar to them). It is important to display information at strategic points to guide in the right direction. Complex structures in the architectural environment are interpreted and stored. Distances, places and times can thus be remembered differently than they appear in reality - and can be recalled much more easily when needed. Locating oneself in the architectural environment is indispensable for further orientation. Only the ability to orient oneself in space makes it possible to intuitively find one's own way and to reach the goal along the orientation points." (Claudia Wieser)
The search for a way from place to place is an integral part of daily life. When one enters a (subterranean) train station in the middle of the city, one is momentarily disoriented: One scans the space to find out where they are. You look for clues that will lead you to your destination. Human perception of the architectural environment and information in space depends on balance and concentration. What do we see? Why did we see it? What can we draw from the given information?


Meidling Train Station, 1120 Vienna

Further Information

One-stage, invited discursive process for the artistic design of the passageway at Vienna Meidling station, 1120 Vienna

Cooperation ÖBB and KÖR Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien


KÖR Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien



KÖR Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien


Werkraum Ingenieure ZT-GmbH, Monika Trimmel


Georg Zey, KÖR jury and artist

Erich Pirkl, ÖBB-Immobilienmanagement GmbH, Managing Director

Barbara Marx, Deputy District Head Meidling

Jeanette Pacher, Curator

Inge Manka, Vienna University of Technology


Gerhard Dully, MA 33 - Public Lighting

Sascha Meis, Architect

Bernhard Nowak, Hollinsky & Partner Ziviltechnikergesellschaft m.b.H.

Cornelia Offergeld, KÖR GmbH, Curatorial Management

Michael Prinz, ÖBB

Johannes Schachinger, ÖBB

Monika Trimmel, Werkraum Ingenieure ZT-GmbH

Martina Taig, KÖR GmbH, Managing Director


Artistic Design of the Passageway at Meidling Train StationWinner of the Competition: Christian Kosmas Mayer

Time Period

Realization planned: 2024

S1, S2, S3 and U6, Bahnhof Meidling

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