Here and there on the subway you can glimpse them. If you are lucky, you will see several. But how many they actually are, we are not told. It looks like a stain at first, but when the gaze has landed for a while, the image of a little girl emerges. In her hand she holds a balloon and judging by the shade, the sun shines. Then someone sits down on the seat and the little girl disappears.
The little girl with a balloon is one of several small embroideries that randomly appear in the fabric of the chairs. They are not very numerous, and most often covered by a back, but sometimes they glimpse past. Like little well-kept secrets, which arouse a childish desire to start looking for more.
The seat is located in one of the relatively new subway cars on the Stockholm metro, a so-called C30. The one that took inspiration from subways where the seats sit in a row along the window to give more space for standing in the aisles.
The idea is that they should arouse curiosity and provide the opportunity for amusement and reflection in an otherwise quite monotonous environment that tends to be filled with repetitive patterns. The fabric was designed by the Swedish design agency IDesign, in collaboration with Bogesund, which manufactured the fabric. In addition to the small figures, the fabric also has Sergel Torg’s characteristic pattern, which has given it the name Plattan.
The figures that sometimes loom behind sweaty backs, suits and backpacks represent different generations of Stockholmers. But how many different figures there are, SL does not want to reveal. “The number of different figures is something that is kept a little so that the travelers can investigate and figure out a little themselves.
Know Before You Go
The seats are available on the new carts on the Red Line of the Stockholm Metro. Not all the metro cars will have these seats.