Starry Night: Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path Inspired by Van Gogh

night cycling visibility green

Opening last night in Nuenen, Holland, this illuminated cycling surface is free to the public, storing sunlight during the day to create stellar patterns to guide riders after dark. First of its kind on the planet, the swirling shapes of this path are recognizably inspired by one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings.

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night cycling path glowing

Developed by Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde in conjunction with infrastructure specialists from Heijmans, this pathway is a potential prototype for future cycling paths using smart paint technologies as well as an extension of an ongoing series of glow-in-the-dark highway projects and other urban improvement proposals in the works around the world.

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Part practical lighting scheme and part installation art project, the path is located along a stretch of a bicycling route passing through Noord Brabant, the region from which van Gogh originated, which in turn connects various notable sites from his personal life and work. Its creator explains: “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.”

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The semi-abstract pixelated swirls are a high-tech reference to Starry Night, painted in 1889 and depicting an idealized view from the east-facing window of the painter’s asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City).

night cycling aerial view

starry night inspired path

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Studio Roosegaarde is known for “tactile high-tech environments in which viewer and space become one. This connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what Roosegaarde calls ‘techno-poetry’. His often interactive work connects people with art and people with people.”