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Paris Underground: The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro Paperback – 27 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (27 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143116398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116394
  • Product Dimensions: 27.5 x 1.2 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark was born and brought up in London, England and as a kid he was always interested in the media and in trains. He built miniature TV studios out of Lego & sticky backed plastic. He set up a closed circuit radio station which got piped through to other parts of the family home. He collected old maps of trains and often went out exploring closed-down rail lines. Aged 14-16 Mark presented a weekly show on the local hospital radio station, collected records and attempted to DJ at local events. A genuine 'geek' in the making!

Following early interests, Mark's school project was on the London Underground in which he painted a revision of the classic Beck inspired Tube diagram. Marks version kept the diagrammatic style but retained the geographic position of the lines: the resulting mess convinced him why Beck was right to expand the central area but helped gain Mark a place at Art College in Southampton. It was there he conceived of an idea to start a 'what's on' listings magazine for the area. 'Due South' published from November 1982 but Mark stepped down after just a couple of years as Editor to persue more pressing political interests. He become an activist during the 1984/5 Miners Strike. This spurred his journalistic interests and he began working for a local radio station as a trainee reporter. After a few years he was reading the news not making it.

Given his ongoing interest in politics and a desire to move to a livelier city, he took a job with the progressive Manchester City Council as an Equality Officer in 1990, delivering training on tackling homophobia in the workplace. Meanwhile Mark developed ideas with a colleague for a national radio show and scored a huge coup by getting BBC Radio 1 to commission their first ever series aimed at young lesbians and gay men: 'loud'n'proud' in 1993. Mark became freelance journalist and newsreader for Manchester's Kiss102 from 1994.

He took four months out in London to work on BBC2's first series for lesbians and gays, 'Gaytime TV' and back at Kiss102, Mark fronted the daily entertainment show 'The Word' , became newsreader 'Peter Parker' for London's Kiss100 breakfast show and was promoted to Programme Manager until 1997 when he became full time producer at BBC Radio 1 on the Annie Nightingale show. In mid 1998 he joined MTV as a freelance music programmer then became a producer and presenter at Atlantic252.

In early 2000, Mark moved to Ministry Of Sound, helping set up their DAB Digital Radio station, and as Head of Radio at MoS, Mark applied for and won the licence to run a one month long FM version of the station.

Mark moved into consultancy after this and in 2002 he joined a fledgling TV channel as Channel Manager but by this stage had already become consumed by the idea of compiling a book that contained the official map of every urban transit system in the world. "Metro Maps of The World" was published in November 2003 and sold out its first run in a matter of weeks. In September 2005 Mark moved to France to focus on his next book about the Paris Metro. Meantime his original publication was picked up by a Dutch Publisher ('Metrokaarten van der wereld" 2006) and also by Penguin in the USA. The American version, "Transit Maps of The World" was published October 2007. Media coverage was phenomenal and led to unexpectedly high sales, and a Top 100 ranking in the Amazon Sales Charts where it is still often the number one best-selling book in it's category (Mass Transit)! Mark is hugely proud that his work has become the best-selling book about transport design.

His comprehensive work on the design of the French capital's transit system was published in October 2008 as "Paris Metro Style in map and station design". Penguin US commissioned an American version of it so Mark re-worked the concept, updated the content and it was published on October 24 2009 by Penguin as "Paris Underground, The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro".

Mark's next book, a follow-up to the popular transit maps offering, was 'Railway Maps of the World' and was first published by Viking Adult in May 2011 for the US market. It launched later that year in the UK as "Great Railway Maps of the World". He relocated to London to research his next project commemorating 150 years of Underground design. The new book: "London Underground by Design" will be published by Penguin in January 2013 for the Tube's anniversary.

He is also working on other follow-up books in the design field.

Mark now resides in his hometown of London where he also works as a freelance music programmer for All Around The World TV, writes comedy, gives lectures on transport design and is a freelance journalist/broadcaster.

Product Description

Paris Underground In this follow-up to the sensational "Transit Maps of the World," Ovenden now turns his attention to the famous Paris transit system with its inimitable Art Nouveau inspired stations and Art Deco signs. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Warwick J. Carter on 30 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Paris Underground is a history of the Paris Metro system in maps and pictures. It is very comprehensive in the way it is written and covers the subject, but extremely frustrating to a dedicated cartophile in that most of the maps are too small to read properly, and there is no map of the current Paris Metro with which to compare the historic maps. Even so, it is probably the best book on the subject in English.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edith on 2 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is very much about the history of "branding" of the Paris Metro. It focuses on the type fonts, station designs, Signage, and maps. It covers over 120 years of history. This book is a useful reference for graphic design and product design students, but a little disappointing for the train buff.
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By Scotweather on 29 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just as detailed as other books by author Mark Ovenden. Bought for my son of 11 who loves all things re railway maps and he is very pleased with this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Paris Metro Background History 21 Nov. 2009
By tramvan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and fully comprehensive of the historical events that led up to the building of the first metro line in Paris.

It then details the steady implementation of the planned network covering the whole of central Paris and also deals with the structures and stations.

Well wrtitten and very readable.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful historic perspective 16 Nov. 2009
By C. Comes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a great way to realise a deeper understanding of the Paris metro system! The book gives the reader a moles-eye view of how it was created and developed through the years. I found the book totally captivating.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent! 27 Dec. 2009
By Philip Hom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If one expects a review of the rolling stock of the Paris Metro, skip this book. If you are interested in the looks, feels of the graphics used on their system - this is the book you are waiting for.

Just as in his other book, this is a study of transit maps especially Paris.

Hopefully this author will cross over to this side of the pond and do such a book om a system in the USA.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Lovely and Unusual Book 24 Oct. 2010
By Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is somewhat of a rarity for these days, a visual feast of visuals, graphics, diagrams, and, yes, content. Printed on a slightly larger than usual format, and laid out in full color on semi-glossy, heavyweight paper, the book will adorn nearly any table on which it is laid. Although the book could be of interest to most anyone simply by virtue of its gorgeous design and layout, the volume really becomes a delight for those who have used the incredible Paris Metro System anytime in the past decades.

The book consists primarliy of variants of metro maps printed over the last (and current) century, and although includes some photos, is really focused on the representational diagrams of the metro in all its incarnations over the years. Of particular emphasis is the design and stylistic decisions that were made on each iteration of the map to increase clarity, improve speed of use, and also to represent the system in a pleasing and distinctive format. Some of these discussions, though written at a level of detail that will surprise non-cartographers, are fascinating explorations of the work and effort that goes into these kinds of maps, and this one in particular. The accompanying text also lays out in some detail the construction and extensions of the system built afte Line 1, and serves to make this book something that can serve as a long-term exploration of the Metro. Pair this book up with Plotkin's The Paris Metro: A Ticket to French History (which has a more developed layout in text of each individual metro station across the entire 14 Lines), and you'll really have a grand exposition of the system.

As most anyone who has used the Paris Metro can attest, this system is one of the technological marvels of the world. With millions of rides taken each week across 14 lines and nearly 400 stations, it is still rare (on weekdays) to ever have to wait more than five minutes at any station to get picked up. The stations are purposely designed to carve a history of France into the mind of the traveller, and the system makes a strong, but nearly subliminal, statement about the city itself. If you want to enjoy it when you're not there, this book is one of the best ways to do so.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An orgy of the maps 12 Mar. 2010
By Grzegorz Wozniakowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As i got this book, i thought "i can't imagine what could be new about Paris metro, coz i already have a book about this awesome system" but i was wrong! This book gives you great opportunity to know how the metro of Paris has grown over the decades, yet over a full century - and the best part of it - at least for me personaly - is the fact, that you will find there tons of historical maps. i didnt even imagine, there were so many of them! It's really amazing to have them all in one book and hold in your own hands, plus the history and other images of the iconic metro system.
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