Strong colors and simple graphical elements are the primary effects used to create an intuitive and safe journey through the world’s longest pedestrian and bicycle tunnel.
In April 2023, the world’s longest purpose-built pedestrian and cycling tunnel opened in Bergen, Norway. Three kilometres long, the tunnel goes through Løvstakken, one of seven peaks surrounding the city, and makes cykling more appealing and comfortable.
Client : Bybanen utbygging
Completion year : 2023
Architect : 3RW Arcitects
Electrical planning : Sweco
Installation : LOS Elektro
Manufacturer : Signify
Photographer : Tomasz Majewski
Promoting Sustainable Mobility Choices
Fyllingsdalstunnelen was originally conceived as a parallel evacuation tunnel for a light rail tunnel. Given the length of the tunnel, it was established that an emergency escape route was needed every 1000 meters. Upon the decision to address this requirement by creating a parallel escape tunnel, the notion emerged to make this tunnel accessible to the public, transforming it into a pedestrian and bicycle tunnel. Connecting the residential areas of Fyllingsdalen and Mindemyren, the tunnel plays an important role in promoting cycling and walking as preferred transportation options over driving.
The objective during the tunnel’s design process was to cultivate a sense of security and entice visitors to embrace the project. To achieve this, a diverse team was established, comprising professionals such as an architect, psychologist, acoustician, and lighting designer. The outcome of this initial phase paved the way for an overall concept, crafted by 3RW architects and lighting designers from Light Bureau. From the conceptual stage to the project’s completion and opening, Light Bureau has been responsible for the detailed lighting design and oversight, collaborating closely with the contractor, electrical planners, and the manufacturer.
Harmonizing Safety, Functionality, and Aesthetics
To maintain a constant sense of orientation and direction for the public, RGB lighting has been installed on the upper side of the continuous cable ladder, which provides a coloured illumination throughout the tunnel. Every 250 meters, the tunnel ceiling gets a new light colour, and travelers will gradually move from the green Fyllingsdalen to the blue Mindemyren. In the heart of the mountain, the warm colours have been deliberately used. This division of the journey into twelve 250-meter segments serves to enhance clarity, predictability, and recognition throughout this extensive passage. In addition to this navigational lighting, the tunnel is equipped with standard tunnel fixtures that ensure functional illumination throughout its length.
At the crossings towards the light rail tunnel, designated zones are allocated for operational vehicle maneuvering. In these areas, the walls are adorned with graphic patterns, designed by Light Bureau, and lit with gobo filtered lights. The purpose with these graphical decorations is to establish visual breaks along the route, offering distinctive landmarks and moments of recognition for travelers.
The graphical murals are produced using stencils, and have motives that refer to clearings, with themes in the four different seasons of the years. Pedestrians and cyclists are not only travelling in a spectrum of colours, but also taking a journey through the seasons, transitioning from the lush greens of summer to the warm oranges of fall, the serene pinks of winter, and the vibrant blues of spring
At the midpoint of the tunnel, a designated open area has been created with the intention of serving as a focal point or destination. During the early phases of planning, it was determined that even before the completion of blasting work, this area should be expanded with orientation in mind. The expansion was undertaken to accommodate a well-illuminated centerpiece that travelers can perceive as they progress toward it.
With the choice of graphic elements, including arrows and colors, the design of the central sculpture naturally emerged as a synthesis of these various components. The sculpture is visible from a long distance and offers a clear sense of progression and drawing travelers closer. Additionally, it incorporates arrows directing towards the green and blue directions, and a three-dimensional design that makes look quite different depending on the viewing angle.
The sculpture also functions as a “digital sundial”, where dynamic lighting provides both intuitive and concrete information about what time it is. The summary of all these safety measures will guarantee that all travelers feel secure while commuting through the mountain.
Section Manager, Senior Lighting Designer MNL, NO