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  • Pixelpoort
    wall mosaic for a bicycle tunnel
  • Dutch designers Overtreders W (Reinder Bakker & Hester van Dijk), Maartje Dros and Eric Klarenbeek designed the pixellated mosaic walls of a bicycle tunnel in Zaandam in collaboration with local residents from the region.

     Windmills, multiculturalism, traditional green ‘Zaanse’ wooden houses, nature, the harbour and the flat Dutch polders: these are some of the impressions that adorn the walls of the ‘Pixelpoort’ bicycle tunnel in Zaandam, just outside Amsterdam. The tunnel is situated along the route that leads to the ferry connecting Amsterdam and Zaandam, trafficked by commuters travelling by bicycle or scooter. Its colourful walls provide a bright respite from the dreary industrial terrain that surrounds the site.

     The project was shaped by three conditions established by the designers: the walls had to be graffiti-proof, there were to be images of some sort that represented the region and local residents could be invited to contribute to the project. With this in mind, the idea of using tiles came up: the smooth surface allowed the easy removal of graffiti and tiles are an integral part of Dutch history. Design-wise, the tiles had a strong visual impact, and the format dictated the process of creating the images: each tile, available in a size of 10x10cm and palette of 14 colours could represent one pixel of the image.

     The brief to local residents asked them to submit pixel pictures illustrating aspects of their region that they were most proud about. Via the website residents could compose their images online – pixel by pixel – then save and submit them. To get submissions, the designers actively promoted the project to residents via local press and handed out flyers themselves around the city.

     The community responded enthusiastically: more than 800 people participated, some residents submitting 20 different drawings each. The final mural, 280m long, is composed of a collage of the most inspiring images, giving a colourful insight into the dreams and nightmares of the local Zaankanters (Zaan residents).
  • A cyclist in the tunnel
  • Pixel images of the traditional 'Zaanse huisjes', green wooden houses that are typical for the area
  • Screenshot from the website where local residents could make their pixel drawing.