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Midtown Detroit Viaducts

Connecting in Detroit

Vincent Lighting Systems provided equipment and expertise to spruce up the aging viaduct underpasses in Midtown-Tech Town Detroit. VLS was the lighting and control supplier for two recent Art + Light installations. The projects were imagined by local artists as part of a design contest sponsored by Midtown Inc. With financial backing from Midtown Inc, The New Economy Initiative and The Knight Foundation, two of the three winning designs have been installed while the third project is still being developed. The goal of each installation is to provide a unique lighting solution that enhances the viaduct tunnels connecting Midtown to New Center. Each project includes provisions for lighting pedestrian walkways and motor vehicle lanes.


BioLINIA, a design collaborative that draws on experience in motion pictures, architecture and illustration, designed and installed the Midtown Viaducts Reflector Public Art + Light Project. Their installation consists of precisely placed construction reflectors that bounce light from automotive headlights and ambient light to create an interesting and inviting space. Entering the tunnel, the concrete structure transforms into a virtual star field under the canopy of reflectors. VLS collaborated with the design team and planners to provide LED lighting for pedestrian safety and roadway illumination. Color Kinetics VAYA LED lighting fixtures were chosen to light the sidewalks and travel lanes as they provide an economical solution in up-front costs and long-term cost of ownership without sacrificing quality.


The design entry for the Light Bender Midtown Viaduct Project was submitted by Detroit’s New D Media Arts. Their interactive lighting installation uses sensors to track vehicle traffic to constantly adapt the light show to the traffic, while pixel mapped LED lighting fixtures enhance the pedestrian path environment. Each car in the tunnel is followed by a ring of color, but the architectural lighting also interacts with pedestrians. Barcodes located on both sides of the viaduct allow passersby to quickly access a wifi app that gives them control over the lighting system. Sensors and app control are connected to the Pharos lighting control system which also provides pre-programmed light shows when there is no interaction.

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