Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet dreams of transforming eight of the capital's “phantom” Metro stations into public spaces including swimming pools, nightclubs and art galleries.
Widely known by her initials NKM, the former minister under centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy has often spoken of the “charm” of Paris’s underground railway, to the occasional consternation of commuters who find themselves jammed together like sardines in the metro at rush hour.
The so-called “phantom” stations, many shut for more than seven decades, represent an opportunity for NKM to capitalise on inner-city real estate, which is at a premium in Paris.
NKM commissioned architects Manal Rachdi and Nicolas Laisné, who have come up with a series of futuristic visions of the Arsenal metro station in eastern Paris, closed in 1939 and one of 14 abandoned stations dotted around the city.
Since their closure, these stations have often been used by the French film industry.
NKM is running against Socialist candidate (and protégé of current mayor Bertrand Delanöe) Anne Hidalgo, whom the polls are giving a slight edge in the March election.
Both candidates have put forward visions for transforming and innovating, to put Paris firmly back on the map as a global leader.
And while the question of how the city would pay for the lavish makeovers of these forgotten historical relics has yet to be answered, the pictures have captured the imagination of those who live and work in the capital, despite their mixed feelings about the metro’s elusive “charm”.
Fancy a subterranean dip? This image transforms the closed-but-not-forgotten Arsenal station into a swimming pool.
Architects Manal Rachdi and Nicolas Laisné see the potential for using the abandoned metro station as an art gallery.
Could this relic of the 1930s be transformed into a fashionable 21st century nightspot?
Paris is known for its food, and eating out is a favourite pastime for the city’s 2.2 million residents (in central Paris), but it remains unclear if an abandoned metro station would provide sufficient cachet to become a commercial success.
Date created : 2014-02-07