It isn’t often that LED color changing lights can be used to their full potential outside of the theatre or entertainment applications. Which is for good reason, unless a dramatic statement is to be made or festive event is being celebrated, LED color changing lighting is typically reserved for special occasions rather than for everyday uses. However every now and again there is a unique project that doesn’t have to follow the usual conventions and can take advantage of everything that LED color changing lighting is able to offer.
The Spiralen Tunnel in Norway
Located in Drammen, the capital of the county of Buskerud, centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway, the Drammen Spiral is an unusual helix-shaped tunnel.
Constructed in 1953, upon closure of local quarries due to concerns of disfiguring
the landscape, rock was excavated from the tunnel and crushed to make a harbour embankment in the city. The tunnel was eventually opened for traffic in 1961 by King Olav V as the site became a touristic attraction following its use as an alternative source of stone.
The tunnel is 1,650 metres long and in the shape of a helix, with six rising circles, in the same style as a multi-storey parking lot. Each rotation of the helix rises 22m, with a diameter of 70m. The tunnel emerges at a summit 180m above the town on Skansen Ridge, where there are parking facilities and a cafe.
In 2020 the tunnel went through extensive renovation and was reopened on 12 December 2020, bringing with it a dramatic LED color changing lighting installation.
Unleashing the potential of LED color changing lighting
Senior lighting designer Kathrine Hjelmeset from Rambøll describes the concept of how the LED color changing lighting changes throughout the day:
Controlled by DMX to achieve the highest possible degree of control and flexibility, it was decieded to run DMX over fibre solution due to a lot of electromagnetic noise in the tunnel. All luminaires – QUANTUM, LIGHTALK, and MIC, are individually addressed and can be controlled separately from each other.