Project team:

Client: Municipality of Emmen/NL
Light artist: Titia Ex,
Realisation: Royal BAM Group / Philips Lighting


Products applied:

1Color Flex MX, Philips
Lighting control: Pharos LPC 20

14. Aug 2015

Functional light art

 Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Theo Berends

Here we go again: “Why do we need this?” the older ones among us will ask, and “We never needed this sort of thing in the past!” Really? Haven’t we actually always needed it, but have never realised it for lack of knowledge or technical means?

The question we are really asking ourselves is: what sense does it make to have dynamic lighting in a tunnel for motorised traffic? Tunnel lighting to date has been more or less a technical lighting issue. Around 15 years ago we witnessed the realisation of the longest tunnel in the world, the Laerdal Tunnel in Norway. The tunnel is over 24.51 kilometres (15.23 miles) long and it takes a driver at least 20 minutes to drive through. This practical fact gave rise to the idea that a tunnel experience of this duration may affect users mentally. Drivers might develop fear syndromes or even suffer panic attacks. How can this problem be solved, if not with light? The Laerdal Tunnel incorporated emotionally lit caves along the route. This was the first time designers showed they were thinking out of the box. Now we have a further example. The “Dolmen Light” light art installation in the Hondsrug Tunnel in Emmen/NL, which was commissioned by the Municipality of Emmen, is one of the first projects within the urban improvement programme for the centre of the Dutch city. The construction of the tunnel is a direct result of the relocation of Emmen Zoo. To reach the zoological garden, visitors now need to walk from the redesigned central square to the entrance to the zoo. Therefore a tunnel was built in Hondsrugweg. The brief was to develop an innovative and unique dynamic lighting design specifically for Emmen that would be durable, flexible, and energy efficient. project was to make a statement, a design vision addressing the genius loci as well as the perceived quality and attraction value of the tunnel. To achieve maximum design potential, the lighting designers were required to team up with urban planners and landscape architects from the municipality to realise the two 235-metre long tunnels. Alex de Fries describes Titia Ex as “an artist whose ideas are shaped by the experience of space. This means that she rarely produces work you can look at while it is hanging immobile on the wall. Most of the works by Ex are experienced as they arise in space. You can adopt several standpoints vis-à-vis this work and view it from various angles by crossing the spaces in which the artist places her work. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 98

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