Dutch designers Overtreders W (ReinderBakker & Hester van Dijk), Maartje Dros and Eric Klarenbeekdesigned the pixellated mosaic walls of a bicycle tunnel in Zaandamin collaboration with local residents from the region.
Windmills, multiculturalism,traditional green ‘Zaanse’ wooden houses, nature, the harbour andthe flat Dutch polders: these are some of the impressions that adornthe walls of the ‘Pixelpoort’ bicycle tunnel in Zaandam, justoutside Amsterdam. The tunnel is situated along the route that leadsto the ferry connecting Amsterdam and Zaandam, trafficked bycommuters travelling by bicycle or scooter. Its colourful wallsprovide a bright respite from the dreary industrial terrain thatsurrounds the site.
The project was shaped by threeconditions established by the designers: the walls had to begraffiti-proof, there were to be images of some sort that representedthe region and local residents could be invited to contribute to theproject. With this in mind, the idea of using tiles came up: thesmooth surface allowed the easy removal of graffiti and tiles are anintegral part of Dutch history. Design-wise, the tiles had a strongvisual impact, and the format dictated the process of creating theimages: each tile, available in a size of 10x10cm and palette of 14colours could represent one pixel of the image.
The brief to local residents asked themto submit pixel pictures illustrating aspects of their region thatthey were most proud about. Via the website www.pixelpoort.nlresidents could compose their images online – pixel by pixel –then save and submit them. To get submissions, the designers activelypromoted the project to residents via local press and handed outflyers themselves around the city.
The community respondedenthusiastically: more than 800 people participated, some residentssubmitting 20 different drawings each. The final mural, 280m long, iscomposed of a collage of the most inspiring images, giving acolourful insight into the dreams and nightmares of the localZaankanters (Zaan residents).