Innovation That Matters

Sustainable art

Historic Dutch dike lights up with sustainable art installations

Travel & Tourism

Showcasing the strength and beauty of an iconic design, the art project uses wind and passing cars to light up the structure and create shareable power.

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As part of a government-led renovation project, Studio Roosegaarde created three sustainably lit art installations to highlight the historic dike’s importance to The Netherlands. Designed to help protect the country from floods, the Afsluitdijk dike is 32 kilometers long and an international icon of design. The art project, called Icoon Afsluitdijk, has three elements: Gates of Light, Windvogel and Glowing Nature.

Gates of Light is a permanent work of art located at the dike’s entrance. The 60 floodgates have been fully restored and covered with small prisms that reflect light from passing cars. If no cars are present, the floodgates stay dark. Windvogel is in place until mid-January 2018 and consists of a pair of smart kites that transforms the energy of the wind into enough electricity to power 200 homes. The fiber cables glow green in the dark so are visible from passing vehicles. The last piece is Glowing Nature. Bioluminescent algae located in one of the dike’s bunkers provide visitors with an interactive display of light and dark.

Smart cities are increasingly raising awareness of sustainability in a variety of ways. Also in the Netherlands, another design studio uses 3D printing to turn plastic waste into public furniture. In Paris, a new concert venue is powered by a mobile solar panel wall. How else could art, innovation and design be combined to to improve public spaces?




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