Alley of Light
The most sparkling alley during these dark winter months is the Alley of Light. You can find it on the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein, between the Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese-Israeli Synagogue from 1675. In the far corner of the square is a platform, which could be considered a stage for the design of Amsterdam-based architect Serge Schoemaker.
Alley of Light is a three-dimensional matrix consisting of close to 2,000 LED lights. This ‘construction’, hanging between several poles is 4 meters high and 12 meters long. In the center is an alley of light, or a long narrow passage that you can walk through. Instead of red or grey bricks, you are surrounded by thousands of lights that continuously change in intensity. Open, dynamic and enchanting, this alley represents the best qualities that a contemporary city like Amsterdam has to offer.
Luuk van Laake was in charge of the light technicalities of the artwork. His company DigiLuce is specialized in light design. Van Laake made sure that every LED light in the matrix could be controlled individually, and that the Alley of Light can be experienced as a volume of light, as though the lights were fixed to the contours of a structure that has been on the square for years.
Nothing is further from the truth. Alley of Light demonstrates how light can help to build something from nothing. Another example is the 88 bundles of light that were installed in New York in 2002 next to where the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed a year earlier. The bundles are lit every year to honor the victims of 9/11. The lights point towards the sky and form two ‘buildings’. The illusion is so believable that even the birds that fly ‘into’ the construction can’t escape the blinding rays of light. The installation has to be switched off for several minutes to allow the birds to escape.
Alley of Light also captures its visitors but in a less fearful way. Those who enter the Alley of Light will be so enchanted that they won’t ever want to leave. In the city center, you find yourself surrounded by a shining and pulsating sky. It doesn’t get more blissful than that. And to switch the light off and cause the optical illusion to disappear – that would just be cruel.