It’s all about the infrastructure. Cycle lanes, bike-sharing and grant funding are brilliant incentives to get off four wheels and onto two, but many European cities can’t accommodate thousands more push bikes cluttering their streets.

The Netherlands has been quietly but steadily bulking up their urban bike capacity by building underground garages, ensuring that everyone who cycles to work has a place to keep their steed during the day. Silo and Studio Marsman have collaborated on one of the country’s largest bicycle parking garages, a prime location beneath the Koningin Julianaplein in The Hague. This urban square is currently the subject of major renewal and this new bike park will soon be joined by apartments and more.  

There’s room for 8,000 bicycles down here, enough to create a critical nodal point between the city’s main train station and its road network. Accessed via gently sloping travellators, the subterranean space is impressive, with high ceilings and plenty of lighting. Orientation is a major issue for riders looking to find their way in and out, as well as locating their bike, so the whole space has been given a spectacular graphic treatment by Silo, with murals depicted abstracted representations of the city’s skyline wrapping around the vast space.

One of their inspirations were the illusory drawings of Dutch artist MC Escher, whose work often featured transitional patterns that shift from one form to another. For their imagery Silo delved into The Hague’s impressive architectural heritage, with façades from iconic buildings like H.P.Berlage’s Kunstmuseum juxtaposed with contemporary works by Bernard Tchumi, Cesar Pelli, Benthem Crouwel and Hans Kollhoff. The result is a geometric tapestry that forms an underground cityscape, reflecting the changing world above. §