A new interactive sculpture in the small town of Eindhoven, The Netherlands is as functional as it is fascinating.
In a darkened tunnel that many commuters pass through daily and nightly, Amsterdam-based design firm Knol Ontwerp installed Transit Mantra. It’s an industrial hive, spreading out over the ceiling in clusters of sensors, lights, and sounds. Inspired by the town’s history as collections of small villages, small knots of the apparatus dot the tunnel’s ceiling. When commuters pass beneath the sensors, the sculpture illuminates and makes sounds.
“Far more than anything the city is a spot where we are continually in transition,” the designers wrote. “Transit Mantra resounds the energy of our movements in the urban landscape. The knowledge of getting in transition now becomes a pleasant moment of reflection.”
While it is meant as an art piece, it also increases the sense of safety commuters feel in the tunnel by illuminating—through both light and sound—where passengers are. Trails of light linger for moments after travellers pass through the tunnel, leaving a sense of permanence to a city in motion. Transit Mantra also reacts to larger groups of people differently than it does to individuals, creating a ceaseless stream of shifting patterns.