Eurostar and the National Gallery launch the world’s first interactive digital art gallery for travellers at St Pancras International

22 Apr 2008

Eurostar and the National Gallery today (22nd April 2008) unveiled the world's first interactive digital art gallery for international travellers, to be enjoyed by millions of people who pass through the high-speed rail gateway between the UK and mainland Europe.
Located within Eurostar's departure lounge at St Pancras International, the STATION MASTERS interactive gallery gives travellers unprecedented access to some of the nation's best-loved works of art, within the unique setting of the magnificently restored, Grade 1 listed station which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen last November.
The cutting-edge system invites users to explore a database of 100 highlights from the National Gallery's collection of Western European painting, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Titian, Holbein, Caravaggio, Constable, Van Gogh and Monet.
Travellers simply choose which painting they want to view by taking a sofa-style seat at one of six tailor-made, touch-screen coffee tables. After searching the database, the picture they select is displayed on one of six free-standing plasma screens situated within the brick archways that run along the eastern wall of the departure lounge, thus creating a constantly evolving art gallery for fellow travellers.
STATION MASTERS is designed to inspire travellers of all ages and includes several interactive tools to explore the paintings. Users can zoom in on a chosen picture to discover hidden details and artistic secrets that are often impossible to see in a conventional gallery setting. In the case of The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck (1434), zooming in on the tiny circular mirror on the far wall reveals a remarkable reflected scene being played out behind the artist's viewpoint.
The featured collection of paintings includes celebrated National Gallery masterpieces such as 'The Rokeby Venus' by Velázquez and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs, and is arranged into eight enduring themes: Love, Identity, Light, Celebration, Discovery, Passion, Peace and Time. A descriptive text - available in English, French and Flemish – accompanies each painting and links it to one of the central themes.
Travellers can also use STATION MASTERS to send an e-card of a favourite painting to friends or relatives with a short message before departure. The use of STATION MASTERS is entirely free of charge.
Eurostar's Commercial Director, Nick Mercer, said: "St Pancras International is a 19th-century architectural wonder restored for 21st-century use. Now some of the most historic paintings in Britain can also be re-enjoyed and re-examined in a totally new way, using this latest digital technology.
"Station Masters makes travelling by Eurostar an even more enjoyable experience, and yet further enhances one of the greatest station buildings in the world. It is a very user-friendly innovation that makes great art accessible for travellers of all ages and nationalities."
The Director of the National Gallery, Dr Nicholas Penny, said: "The National Gallery is delighted to be working with Eurostar on the implementation of Station Masters and further enhancing the hugely successful transformation of St Pancras International.
"Eurostar wanted to give this terminal a clear identity rooted in London's rich cultural offering. What better way to do this than to enable travellers to immerse themselves in some of the greatest paintings in Western European art from the National Gallery's collection? "
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For more information or images contact:The National Gallery: Tom Almeroth-Williams+44 (0)20 7747 2512 or thomas.almerothwilliams@ng-london.org.ukEurostar press office: +44 (0)20 7843 5500, or press.office@eurostar.co.uk.
Notes for Editors
The system was designed and developed by Land Design Studio and Studio Simple
Land Design Studio / Studio Simple
BAFTA award winning Land Design Studio have worked with Studio Simple for many years integrating interactive communication media into architectural space. Working with Eurostar at St Pancras International has provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the powerful impact that this approach may bring to an entirely new transportation experience. Presently Land are working with Christies London, on The British Music Experience, a permanent exhibition at the O2, and on a new museum for The Mary Rose, which was of course a highly successful 16th Century mode of transport.
Eurostar:
1. Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris Gare du Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. St Pancras International is connected with seven mainline rail services at St Pancras, next door King's Cross and nearby Euston, including:• St Pancras International: East Midlands Trains, First Capital Connect• King's Cross: National Express East Coast, Hull Trains• Euston: Virgin Trains, London Midland, First Scottish RailSt Pancras International also connects with six London Underground lines.
3. Ebbsfleet International is strategically located for the whole of South East England, just off junction 2 of the M25 near Bluewater shopping centre in north Kent. Eurostar travellers can also reach both Ebbsfleet and Ashford International with free travel on connecting Southeastern train services and Fastrack buses.
4. On 14 November 2007, Eurostar became the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral. Under its 'Tread Lightly' initiative has set a target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012 Independent research has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris / Brussels generates one-tenth of the CO2 produced by an equivalent flight.
5. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are official partners in Britain, and collaborate on the development of Eurostar's 'Tread Lightly' initiative, and Friends of the Earth's 'The Big Ask' campaign.
6. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
7. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates a vehicle shuttle service and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
8. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.