D E S I G N details: Levenslicht

by Sherrie Zwail Enderman, SZIdesign

Photo credit: Daan Roosegaarde, www.studioroosegaarde.net

As some of you may know, design is my passion and I couldn’t be happier about living in the Netherlands, where the local design is constantly inspiring me. I am excited to introduce you to creative and inspiring design, designers, projects, trends and exhibits right here in our backyard. 

I first wrote about Daan Roosegaarde from Studio Roosegaarde a few years ago. He and his team create many amazing projects. Daan is a designer who is regarded highly for his creative use of light, ultraviolet lamps and glow-in-the-dark paint. One project of his that I highlighted in the past was the Van Gogh Path, a bike path made up of thousands of illuminating stones and inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  This project won several international awards, as it was technically advanced and creatively stimulating.

Another project that Daan Roosegaarde worked on was in honor of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of German Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz. Here Daan was asked to design a monument to honor the 104,000 Dutch Holocaust victims. In collaboration with the National Committee, he developed LEVENSLICHT (Light of Life). 

Photo credit: Daan Roosegaarde, www.studioroosegaarde.net

Levenslicht can be viewed in 170 locations throughout the Netherlands. The project incorporates 104,000 illuminating stones in memory of each person killed. Stones have a very significant meaning in the Jewish religion, as it is typical to place a stone instead of flowers near a gravesite to honor the deceased. Stones are also significant in the Roma and Sinti communities, whose members were also persecuted. Therefore, stones were the natural catalyst for Daan’s inspiration.

The Levenslicht installations consist of a circle of granite stones, coated with fluorescent ink and lit with an ultraviolet lamp, in all the locations in the Netherlands where people were sent to concentration and extermination camps in the Second World War. The hope is that Levenslicht will provide "a place for contemplation about the Holocaust and the broader importance of freedom" for the people of the Netherlands. "Levenslicht is not a traditional static monument in which people are purely observers; it asks social participation," said Roosegaarde. "Light is life, light is hope: Levenslicht."

The main location of Levenslicht is in Rotterdam, but the installations can also be seen in another 170 municipalities in the Netherlands. You can visit these installations from January 16 to February 2, 2020.

Keep your eye out for Daan Roosegaarde. You won’t be disappointed in his commitment to use beauty to make our world a more humane place to live.