This month, designer Daan Roosegaarde opened his glow-in-the-dark bike cycle path in Nuenen, Netherlands. It’s a one-kilometre stretch that honours Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. The path connects to a larger bike trail that goes through Van Gogh heritage locations in Brabant, the area where the painter was born.
The path was made by coating thousands of tiny stones in special paint that lights up at night. It’s basically a more advanced version of the glow-in-the-dark stars you had on your ceiling as a kid. The addition of LED lights alongside the path means it will still light up on cloudy days.
Aside from looking futuristic and cool, the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde path has quite a few practical advantages too. It uses less power than the typical bike path lights do, as well as eliminates the need to replace light bulbs. Another bonus? Because the path’s not extremely bright, it’s less disruptive for nearby animals.
The cycle path is part of a series of projects by Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructre called Smart Highways, which creates the “interactive and sustainable roads of tomorrow.” They’ve recently unveiled another project titled Glowing Lines, which uses energy-neutral lines to mark the sides of highways. Located in Oss, Netherlands, these lines serve the important purpose of illuminating the road for nighttime drivers. Like the Van Gogh path, they look pretty surreal–a lot like a real-life version of the sped-up traffic scenes in Koyaanisqatsi.