Eindhoven, Netherlands – Since the end of March, Catharinaplein in Eindhoven has been lit by FreeStreet, the latest street lighting from Philips. The atmospheric square is a pleasant meeting-place because of the ´floating´ light beneath and between the trees. At the same time, the square provides space for cyclists passing through and for crossing pedestrians.
“Eindhoven has opted for FreeStreet because the floating lighting system is adapted to the way people move and behave, rather than people having to adapt to where the lighting is located. I think this is a good example of technological progress,” says Mary-Ann Schreurs, Municipal Executive Councillor for Innovation, Culture and Public Spaces in the municipality of Eindhoven. “On the one hand we benefit from the new lighting due to the minimal use of lamp-posts, since this makes it possible to create additional public space for pedestrians and cyclists. On the other hand the atmospheric light contributes to the intimacy of the square in the evening.”
“The intimate atmosphere of the square is reinforced by FreeStreet because we have suspended a lowered light platform between the trees,” says Petra Hulst, Lighting Designer at Philips. “The lighting system is suspended at a height of four and a half meters by means of only four poles. It hangs just below the crown of the mature tree. This means that unlike with conventional lamp-posts the light source is at a low level and the light is emitted in all directions, both beneath and between the trees.”
“Another important consideration for us was that the LED street lighting is sustainable and energy-efficient,” says Schreurs. “In addition, maintenance costs are lower than with conventional lighting solutions.”
The design of FreeStreet is unusual because the LED lamps are incorporated in a single cable, so the lamp looks like a thicker part of the cable. This makes it possible to span large spaces without the cables swinging and the lamps are directed downward at all times. FreeStreet won the 2011 Dutch Design Award because of this unique design.
Finally, Schreurs says: “I don’t think people will even notice the new lighting because it doesn’t hinder them. They will however be able to make greater use of the atmospheric square, which is well lit in the evenings, as a pleasant social meeting-point with benches all around the newly planted trees.”