Network and Design-meister, Anton Vamplew (hanging dangerously off the chair-lift on the left), talks about the Frozen Underground and how he got here from his passion for astronomy:
“I’ve been interested in the night sky all my life. It’s provided me with some great opportunities, such as becoming the BBC Blue Peter astronomer. Whilst there I visited the telescopes on La Palma and Hawaii, and clocked up more than 30 appearances on the programme, mainly talking about what night sky events the viewers could see over the coming weeks. What I really enjoyed was making the wonders of the sky accessible to children and their parents alike.
I have also written several books on astronomy, with the aim of cutting through the jargon and tech-speak, and not designed specifically for those who want to be astronomers, but just those who want to appreciate the night sky. My first two books for Collins were called Simple Stargazing and Stargazing Secrets, and I took all the photographs and designed all the illustrations and diagrams for them.
So, how does that fit with skiing and underground maps? Well, I see an appreciation of astronomy is also very much an appreciation of nature. To stand out in a dark environment looking at the stars is an experience. You find yourself pondering the unimaginable distances; the stillness and quiet of the night; how fortunate the Earth is to be where it is, and that it provides us with an atmosphere and conditions which give us the ability to appreciate it all - and so on. For a moment, you are away from the everyday into a world of peace and wonder.
Or was I talking about skiing/snowboarding there? All that could work equally well when you’re standing atop a mountain, looking around and just soaking it all in before the snow starts to rush beneath your feet on your way downhill.
Those of us who love snow sports, love the mountains: the fresh air, the scenery, the escape, and (for the most part!) those other souls we meet who are ‘feeling it’ too.
So, apart from the snow and darkness, astronomy and skiing (or snowboarding for some - not me!) are quite similar. Actually, bring in night time skiing and I’ve sorted out the darkness! Maybe someone could do some metaphorical thing between the snow and stars, then we’re all sorted. [Additional entry: snowy mountains are impressively dark at night, so they are a great place to see the stars. Everything’s all joined up nicely now.]
Anywho, sprinkle in some fine design to the skiing part and it’s Frozen Underground all the way!”
THE CREATION OF MYTHS + LEGENDS
So, the the world-wide iconic art snow phenomenon the Frozen Underground came into being. If you like skiing, snowboarding and all things après-ski, then the Frozen Underground is the greatest imaginary subway ever, for it joins up all your favourite winter resorts.
The art is based on the classic London Underground system, but lines have been crafted into mountains complete with trees, cable cars, skiers, snowboarders and mountain huts. The stations are, of course, winter resorts across the world , while (on some Maps) the routes include the Après-Ski and Le Vin Chaud lines.
From this just being a fantastic imaginary network, it is now growing in lore and myth, with stations having "history" and new lines are "opened" where yetis roam. With this in mind, the maps also show the host towns of our own Frozenolympics - the winter games that take place every four years, and which are blatantly copied by the “real” olympics. The cheek of some people!
We have four main Network Maps: the Central Network (Europe based but including Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina, Russia and Iran!), Austria, France and the USA. These may be customised to any degree: replace a single station with your bar/apartment/business etc., or for more corporate clients, change everything to include all your resorts/properties. Please contact us for more details.
All other Art is based around the idea of this mythical Frozen Underground, whether it be vintage posters for "stations", or blueprints of famous resort mountains.