The renowned Irma Boom Office was inspired by the Rotterdam tile painter Cornelis Boumeester (1652-1733) in designing this tile artwork: a Dutch fleet of herring fishing boats being by a warship.
In all, it took the ceramic company—Royal Tichelaar Makkum—5 years to produce the 33,000 floor tiles 46,000 wall tiles. Each tile is the traditional size for a Dutch tile: 5.11 inches (13 cm) square.
An elevated plaform separates pedestrian traffics from the 15,000 cyclists that use the tunnel everyday. Sound-absorbing steel grates—located over and around the bicycle path—keep the space quiet. "The whole recalls old kitchens in Amsterdam canal houses," write the architects, "so that the tunnel is experienced as a safe place—as an urban room."
The tunnel leads from an older to newer part of Amsterdam. The artwork doesn't run the entire length of the tunnel: toward the entrance/exit to the newer neighborhood, the tiles become a gradually darker field of blue (seen here, at left).
In addition to grabbing biker's attention and urging them to slow down, the architects write that the tunnel's change from "drawn lines [to] pixels also visualizes the transition in art from the old to the new."
Another detail of the warship.