Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is not a stranger to the art of combining solar energy with art and architecture…
His recent project for Smart highways that glow in the dark left many enthusiastic about what he has in store for future projects. And their enthusiasm was justified on November 13th, in the city of Eindhoven, where his “Starry Night” bike path was unveiled.
Drawing inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh’s omonymous famed painting, and constituting a sentimental and immense homage to the artist himself, the bike path is part of a larger project of cultural events throughout 2015 between the Netherlands, Belgium and France to honor the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s tragic death.
For those in need of more information, the Dutch painter decided to most likely end his life with a pistol, after suffering decades of mental illness. His post-impressionist paintings, laughed at and ridiculed during his life, became a hallmark of the post-impressionist style.
The bike ride is part of a larger Cycle Route in the province of North Brabant, Van Gogh’s homeland, connecting different locations that marked the painter’s life. The entire route is 335 kilometers (208 miles) long and split into five individual round trips, which can each be cycled in a day.
The Starry Night path itself, spanning one kilometer, is beautiful in its tender and honest simplicity; specially designed, sunlight absorbant paint, along with LED light technology were used to create a path with swirling designs, illuminating cyclists’ way during nighttime.
Having teamed up with Heijmans construction services for a second time afer his smart highway project, Roosegaarde stated that:
“I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience, that’s what techno-poetry means to me,”.
These first few shy steps into incorporating solar energy and utilizing it for our everyday lives, in order to make them more beautiful, but most of all, more practical and energy-conservative, shows not only great promise, but also great ambition.
Highways and roads that glow in the dark are not only pretty to look at; it means that electricity and natural resources derived from our planet can take a back seat and some time for much needed recovery. Instead, we can finally harness the energy offered to us by the sun, even if it is during the nighttime. For years, we have avoided using alternative energy resources.
Perhaps it is time we embraced it.
By Sofia P.