Best of 2018 Print/OOH/Design No. 5: Spotify takes over a subway station with an incredible David Bowie tribute

Wall art, themed Metro Cards and more at Broadway-Lafayette in extension of V&A exhibition

Published On
Apr 23, 2018

Editor's Pick

Through New Year’s on Creativity, we’ll be counting down the best work and ideas of the year in various categories: TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Out of Home/Design/Experiential and Digital/Integrated/Social.

At No. 5 in Print/OOH/Design is Spotify’s spectacular out-of-home tribute to David Bowie, an immersive takeover of New York’s subway station at Broadway-Lafayette Street from this past spring. A stunning staircase mural, artistic tributes, themed metro cards, a map of Bowie’s New York and more illustrated the musician’s impact on the city as well as the city’s influence on his career. The campaign served as an extension to the “David Bowie is” exhibit from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which had been running at the Brooklyn Museum at the time.

Original Story:

Since he died in 2016, there have been plenty of tributes, both official and unofficial, to David Bowie all over the world, including a huge unofficial shrine/mural to the singer near Brixton tube station, South London. Now, New York City has its own dose of Bowie remembrance, courtesy of Spotify.

The music streaming brand has taken over Broadway-Lafayette subway station until May 13 with a gigantic tribute to Bowie, in particular focusing on his influence on New York City. It includes images of the musical icon at all stages of his career. Most strikingly, a giant portrait of Bowie adorns a staircase; elsewhere there are wall posters, includng fan-made pieces of art. Commuters can also purchase Bowie-themed Metro Cards with images of him at fives stages during his career including as Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and Aladdin Sane.

Each piece of art is paired with something Bowie has said that speaks to his affection for the city and its impact on his work. Each piece will also contain a unique Spotify code linking to Bowie's music that will accompany the underground experience.

The project is an extension of "David Bowie is," organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which has been showing since March at the Brooklyn Museum honoring Bowie's life, art and work. The choice of subway station reflects the fact that Bowie lived in the neighborhood for two decades.

Beyond the physical subway takeover, Spotify's multimedia format, Spotlight, will introduce a new series, David Bowie Stories. This aims to give fans a deeper look into the life of Bowie with content including anecdotes, making of's, mini-essays, photos, video, and items from the David Bowie Archive.