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Sustainable landscape art using Tikkurila products

24.01.2011 10:08

The city of Kemi, Finland, brightens its image with art in the public space, visible also to those speeding past the city on the motorway. Tikkurila was involved in an exciting design project to liven up the motorway bridge with a light gate.

The landscape architecture turns the bypass roads into something thought-provoking. You can experience this in Kemi. The 30-meter-long piece, called Valoportti ("Light Gate"), was erected on a bridge in a central junction of the E18 motorway. The Finnish Transport Agency and the Lapland division of the ELY Centre wished to create experiences for motorists as well as nurture a positive image of the city of Kemi.


- Art provides good means to interesting design for road environments, say sculptor Marjukka Korhonen and Mari Siikonen, Head of Unit for the WSP Design Studio and manager of the road facade project.


Kemi Light Gate 01

A desired and durable effect color


Kemi Light Gate 03Valoportti was manufactured by Tehomet Oy, who specialize in lighting poles. The piece consists of composite pipes manufactured by Plastilon Ltd. and treated with the Ice Blue III effect color from Tikkurila. Thousands of lighting variations are possible with the piece's light control unit. The lighting pole is visible from kilometers away and, additionally, brings some bright light to underneath the bridge itself.


At Tikkurila, the pipes' surface treatment solution was designed by Application Engineer Mårten Juslin. He says that the task has not been one of the easiest. The location is a demanding one, and  the work must function as an impressive piece of environmental art around the clock, all year round.


- At Kemi's latitude, of course, variations in temperature over the year are intense, but even harsher is the environmental impact  caused by the sun's UV radiation and pollution from traffic to external surfaces, says Mårten Juslin.


- For the lighting poles, we chose a product from the Temadur range, achieving the desired effect color by using tinting technology. A tinted polyurethane product adheres well to the substrate and forms a transparent colored surface. Previously, the same type of effect was created using caramel finishes or even, a long time ago, the milk finishes that Alvar Aalto used on his furniture.


- The smooth surface of the light pipes minimizes the effects of pollution. The pipes are washed only once or twice a year – it is hardly possible to do so more often on the motorway, anyway.


A light gate for northern conditions


In sunlight, the composite pipes produce an ice blue metallic luster, and at night they light the environment magically. The landscape architecture in Kemi has made a bold opening move in the development of the city's image. A successful end result requires careful cooperation.


- We tested the transparency of the tinted effect color carefully, together with the team's designers, architects, lighting designers and manufacturer. We believe that the chosen blue color represents, as well as endures, the demanding nothern climate, Mårten Juslin says.


The same effect color from Tikkurila had already been used in interior solutions such as the wallboards for cinemas, several cruise ships and the Linnanmäki amusement park.


- Ambitious designers give accurate instructions on what they are looking for and demand uncompromising quality and unique color solutions. In this way, also our own skills continue to improve as we realize these special projects, Mårten Juslin stresses.


Kemi Light Gate 02


 Text:  Alpo Räinä 

 Photos:  Kati Leinonen 

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