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WETHOUDER HOOGENDIJK TUNNEL
a pedestrian and bicycle underpass, 1997-1998
Krimpen aan den IJssel, the Netherlands

A residential area and the neighboring shipbuilding yards of Krimpen aan den IJssel - a Rotterdam suburb - were to be connected to the city hall and main commercial district, a shopping mall, by a new pedestrian and bicycle underpass. The highway above, a main artery passing through the community, was exactly at sea level, i.e. the entire tunnel construction including approach ramps were below sea level, protected by dikes.

A specific design criteria for this public art commission was to create a pleasant atmosphere - a sense of harmlessness - for the pedestrians and bicyclers to pass through, particularly avoiding the creation of dark spaces conducive to loitering. In short, we were asked to reflect and enhance the existing and projected atmosphere in Krimpen aan den IJssel, which is a general feeling of harmony and pastoral well-being.

In different colors and sizes, patterns and textures, motives of stormy clouds, goldfish portraits, dynamic splashes of blue glazing, arranged in variations and overlayed with printed circuit graphics - were employed to create a lively and thoughtful visual passage for the users on their way to the municipal center.

The decorative elements were all applied to the tiles via transfer decals, using a four-color silkscreen printing process, with a fifth layer for the printed circuits, or "techno-glyphs".

This visual idiom mirrors the vicious circle of survival - a constant struggle between improving the quality of life in harmony with nature, while absorbing the subsequent side-effects of this very struggle, the price of growth and prosperity.







400 m of stoneware tiles on concrete walls, including 100 m of graphically modified tiles, format: 300 x 300 x 6 mm

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David Smithson 1997-2015