The door to another reality was open in Haifa

Our correspondent has walked into another reality and exited in Balfour street in Haifa.

Through the balfour tunnel

Not all would agree to go on such a journey but a courageous and committed employee. Inessa Mezhova went through the underground passage transformed by Intel Company to an entertainment and technological complex.

The Tunnel Balfour

I have lived in the city not for so long but I was able to find the passage pretty fast. It is called the Tunnel Balfour. It is located between the building of Beit Hakranot and Herzel street in Hadar district. Hadar itself is quite a weird place, a former center of the city. It should have become an architectural conservation area. Hundreds of houses in Bauhaus style but in the best state though are there. For me Hadar is like an open air museum. I walk and examine its long-faded grandeur – masterpieces of the European modernism, ruins of civilization.

The house in Bauhaus on Hadar in Haifa. Photo Elena Shafran

I go down the underground passage together with some teens who also decided to check what this unusual street game looks like hoping to take part in interactive adventures.


How does it work here

It turned out that to start you need to download Hadar Move application to your smartphone. The application was developed by software engineers of OODLZ startup. As per the instruction the application is going to transfer those crossing the tunnel to a virtual reality. Then we are to choose one of the three games «Troll», «Aladdin» or «Fairy», after that we become fairy-tail characters and go from one end of the tunnel to the other overcoming virtual obstacles. And this is where adventure starts. Try not to come across an angry troll, find a place to hide and be as swift as Aladdin while passing above the boiling lava,  avoid sharp swords, or become a fairy and run away from poisonous flowers and scare away annoying insects.

If you manage to overcome these obstacles and reach the end of the tunnel, you will get a prize – a scratch card with a discount to some shops and cafes in Hadar. You can buy a pair of sandals real cheap, eat a cake or drink a cup of coffee. Frankly speaking everybody will win, as everyone can go through the tunnel.

The small shop on Hadar, in Haifa. Photo Elena Shafran

120 meters stripes with LEDs and sensors

There is one more activity – an interactive installation created by ForReal Team studio together with an artist Shaul Zemach. The passers by examine the installation, touch it,  take pictures in front of metrical compositions. On the walls there are 120 meters stripes with LEDs and sensors. The composition is sensitive to movements and voices of the passers by, due to which simply going through the tunnel becomes a real adventure accompanied with tricks of light and sound. I liked it, it is bright and not annoying at the same time.

I have also made a small discovery – an amazing mosaic above the tunnel entrance. It is a very interesting horizontal composition created in the manner of ancient mosaics. It is very beautiful. When you go there pay attention to it. In the tunnel walls have been restored and polished, historical coating was preserved.

I would definitely like to develop this story and inweave light stripes from the street to the walls enclosing the entrance. It would be also great to change paving slabs somewhere or put illuminated belts to the joints and thus expand the entertainment space letting it outside.

Inessa Mezhova

Translation Marina Andreeva

Haifa. Hadar.

О Инесса Межова

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