The wonderful glass mosaic signage has always added a touch of class to Manchester’s Victoria Station. The ornate lettering is made from gold smalti, a glass and gold leaf mosaic material, beautifully set against the blue surround. (although now in need of careful attention)
Most of the ornate signage is currently obscured from view whilst refurbishment works at Victoria near completion. These photographs are a reminder of the art nouveau style, and you can see at once that these designs were most probably influenced by the contemporary work of Angelo Orsoni.
Whilst the Orsoni piece below incorporates many more shades of green and exemplifies the textural qualities attainable using hand-made smalti, the foliage in the Victoria Station designs is more flamboyant in its swirly gesture. I would imagine that having pushed the boat out to accommodate the cost of the gold smalti, a more restrained approach to the rest of the palette must have been essential to stay within budget. Of course, in aesthetic terms, the limited palette is highly effective in creating a consistency and simplicity, that today we might refer to as it’s ‘corporate identity’.