Ceramic tile makes a stylish comeback
Andrzej Mieszczuk, Krzysztof Stępiński, Marcin Piotrowski
The city of Sopot, along with Gdansk and Gdynia, is part of the so-called Tricity, a large conurbation of more than 850,000 inhabitants facing onto the Gulf of Gdansk. Famous as a Baltic seaside resort from the 1820s onwards, Sopot is located about 12 kilometres north of Gdansk and is popular with both Polish and foreign tourists who are able to include a visit to both cities in a single trip thanks to the frequent regional trains and a journey time of just twenty minutes.
However, until just a few years ago Sopot station was an embarrassment to the city due to the severe state of degradation into which the area had fallen, along with its buildings, subways and access walkways to the main streets leading to the seafront.
Originally built in 1868-1870 when the railway line connecting Sopot with the nearby cities of Gdansk and Słupsk was completed, the station suffered severe damage during the Second World War. All that was left of the original structure was the wooden platform roof supported by cast iron columns.
In 1952, the platform was extended and raised to allow the first high-speed train line to pass through, and this was how it remained until 2009.
A new building was constructed in the early 1970s in keeping with the interesting but often denigrated modernist style that characterised socialist architecture of the period. This structure was demolished in 2013 as part of a redevelopment programme launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a shopping area and railway services centre. The project involved the construction of an underground car park and tourist hotels as well as commercial buildings, shops, restaurants and cafes.
One of the key aims of this project was to renovate the viaduct and pedestrian subways originally built between 1907 and 1912 to provide access to Heroes of Monte Cassino Street, Marynarz Street and Chopin Street. Between 2010 and 2013, designers from the Gdansk railway planning office transformed these spaces into pleasant, clean and well-lit areas, opting for a contemporary version of the original ceramic tiling as stipulated by the city’s heritage office. In their search for a product whose size and colour would be as close as possible to the original, the designers found that glazed porcelain tiles from Ceramica Vogue would fit the bill perfectly in terms of aesthetics while also ensuring outstanding technical performance. In particular, they meet the two key requirements of frost resistance, a crucial factor in a cold country like Poland, and ease of cleaning, which is equally important in intense-use public spaces. The Trasparenze line was chosen for its glossy, bright tiles available in a number of modular sizes and lively colours. Italian tiles were used for all the walls and cover a surface area of around 1,000 sq.m, recreating the two-colour composition adopted in railway stations throughout the Pomerania region in the early twentieth century. The Ghiaccio colour reproduces the white of the original tiles, while Mandarino tone tiles are used to recreate the design used for modernisation projects in the stations of what was then West Prussia, as can still be seen today in the Polish cities of Oliwa, Pruszcz and Letnica.
Ceramica Vogue, Trasparenze
TR Ghiaccio, TR Mandarino
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 1,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min.
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 2-4
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 1.000 N
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): -
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant