SkÄnetrafiken - Minutes of Light

Slow design in practice


Designing a modern way to display time for travelers at Trelleborg Central Station, with respect for people's differences and backgrounds.


We did deep research, checking out the timetables and clocks of other stations, the moving patterns of travelers and the possibilities for Trelleborg Station.


The result is a light installation that guides travelers and gives the station a unique identity. It is called “Minutes of light” and is both an adornment and a visual way to communicate the amount of time to the next train departure.

Displaying time in a new way

When redesigning the Trelleborg Central Station into a modern travel center, Zenit Design was asked to create a service or installation that would facilitate travel planning at the station, and create a more attractive user experience. Due to the expansion and potential of Trelleborg as a city, SkÄnetrafiken was using the Trelleborg Station to try out new concepts that can later be used at other stations around SkÄne. More and more people are moving to Trelleborg, from Sweden and other countries; it is a hub for the boats that go to the European continent and many people who live in Trelleborg work in Malmö. The central station is therefore an important place for a vast amount of people.

The challenge was to meet the demands of all these people. They are old and young, there are language barriers, physical variations, some are tourists and some are families. Everyone needed to be included in the final solution. It should also be easy to repair and cheap to produce.

Research, Research, Research

By taking on the challenge from a Service Design point of view, we were able to identify the travelers’ needs. Using a range of service design methods, such as Service safari, Desktop walkthrough, Interviews and Benchmarking we were able to identify triggers and issues. Basing our ideation and concept development on that research we were able to discover a new way of displaying time. For example, we went to other stations in SkĂ„ne to investigate how timetables and clocks were positioned in regards to elevators, escalators and other places where people move around. We noticed that there wasn’t any common way to display this, and that most timetables and clocks were just randomly positioned at the stations. We also benchmarked stations around the world, such as Japan, and looked at how light and colour had been used to portray time.

Finding the common ground

To learn about the travelers at Trelleborg Station we did research on the differences and similarities in their moving patterns. If you are a father with two children and you are riding your bike to the station, you might  first use the restrooms, then go to the shop to buy a drink and finally to the platform to take the train. We looked at the elderly, tourists, commuters - they all have different moving patterns. The only thing they had in common was that everyone needed to go through the glass doors to get to the platform and trains. This was therefore the natural place for the finished product. SkÄnetrafiken was surprised by this fact, as their first thought was that it should be placed on the wall next to the timetables. This is a clear example on how service design and proper research can simplify and perfect a product.

Based on the space with the glass doors, we started working on the actual design idea. We focused on using light and colors, as these are elements that go beyond language barriers. At first we were thinking of using  led light with different colors that displayed a certain time when you walked through the glass cubicle. We played around with different options and finally found that simplicity was the way to go.


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