DOLMEN LIGHT, HONDSRUG TUNNEL
The traditional approach to tunnel lighting has
been to avoid distracting the driver at all costs. So
when lighting artist Titia Ex proposed a dynamic,
colourful treatment for the new Hondsrug Tunnel in
the Dutch city of Emmen, her plan was first met with
Wouldn’t a striking design impair safety? The
municipality put the concept to the test in a driving
simulator at Delft University of Technology, and the
results were surprising.
Instead of feeling threatened and distracted, drivers
felt ‘welcomed’ by the bold shapes and bright
colours and found the experience ‘pleasant’. And
because the accidents occur in tunnels because
drivers feel insecure, the lighting installation could
have a positive rather than a negative impact
The 700 luminaires embedded in the 12 modular
elements are based on dolmens, which were once
a feature of this landscape. They feature red, green
and blue LEDs that are all individually addressable.
A programmed palette of colours gradually turns
into a different palette as you drive through, with the
program adapting to the traffic’s speed, usually about
50 kilometres an hour.
The basic program’s lapse of light and shade is, both
horizontally as well as vertically, flowing and gradual.
Titia Ex says the lighting transports travellers back
to the era of the dolmens with organic shapes and
guides visitors into the future of urban light design.
l Titia Ex will speak about this project at the
Road Tunnel Lighting conference in Barcelona
on 8 and 9 October. For details, see
The wall segments are built
with 12 replaceable modular
elements, each with addressable,
individually controlled RGB LED