Signal Fires

Published 9.05.22

Road lighting in Helsinki reminiscent of World War II bombings

Like many other cities, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, was bombed during the Second World War.

In order to mislead the bombers, people of Helsinki lit numerous fires outside the city at night, so the pilots would mistake the fires for the city lights. As a result, many bombs were dropped in empty fields far from houses, saving countless lives.



The fires in Vuosaari saved the town of Helsinki more than 50 years ago. In honor of this ingenious deception, there are now 132 light torches mounted on posts on both sides of the Vuosaari Road.

The light poles are custom made of perforated steel plate. The poles support catenary wire network which spans the roadway and the light fittings are hung on the wires above the road.

Also a floodlight is installed in the base of the pole and together with the perforated surface the light from this floodlight produces a moire phenomenon: when moving though the installation the base illumination appears to burn like a flame. In daytime the row of poles and the wire network over the road create a uniform space, a tunnel through which the landscape is experienced.

Sami Huuskonen

Design Manager, Tehomet ⎮ Smart Solutions Product Manager EMEA, Valmont ESS
Phone: +358 44 746 5583
Email: sami.huuskonen [at]

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Construction year: 20xx

Used in: Traffic lighting

Photographer: Ilpo Aalto