Sculpting a gigantic gem – The City Gate through the Hinse mountain, Karlshamn

The entrance to the small city of Karlshamn in the Swedish archipelago of Blekinge runs through a magic city gate through the Hinse Mountain and its tunnel directly to the picturesque city core.

The design brief was to create a breath taking long lasting first impression for tourists and visitors to the town of Karlshamn, but also to enhance an everyday aesthetic experience –to make a beautiful imprint of the manmade landmark – for all inhabitants of Karlshamn.

In revealing the hidden gem with lighting the vision was to make a symbol for the city and thus creating a stronger sense of identity for the town and the province.

Whether walking, biking or driving with car through the Hinse mountain and tunnel, the experience is pleasurable, safe and pleasing for the eye. The functional lighting of the bicycle path as well as the functional lighting of the tunnel works in symbiosis with the architectural lighting of the mountain and of the interior of the tunnel. The distribution and intensity of the functional light is carefully fine tuned and well shielded in order for the architectural lighting to be the focus of attention.

The conceptual design is based upon the myth of The Mountain troll King with his golden mountain abode and its hidden treasures. The morphology i.e. the sculptural shape and forms of the mountain as well the natural shifting colour nuances generated the design method.

A very wide range of luminaries in terms of intensity and distribution as well as meticulous positioning was needed for the revelation of the sculptural giant. Very pleasing to the designers a hidden giant troll is now exposed on the north side of the city gate and a natural “weapon” with the town arms is visible above the tunnel entrance.

The gems of the Mountain troll sparkled the idea of the different lighting scenarios; golden, amber, lava and cold icy-crystal and thus the utilization of both RGBA and RGBW colour-mixing for the tunnel. The programming of the scenarios are adapted to the Nordic seasons; thus the crystal scenario is used during the warm bright summer nights to make a beautiful contrast as well as to intensify the ice-cold nights during the winter holidays. The golden and amber scenarios are standard scenarios, which make a beautiful contrast to the colours of the mountain. All lighting is controlled in order to make energy saving during night-time.

The rhythm of light and darkness give shadows and shape to this mountain drama. The colourful tunnel with its hidden gems is truly magical.

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