MARSEILLE – It looks like an apparition from a children’s book: a bridge beginning and ending in the centre of an idyllic pond, suspended in an arc by three helium balloons.
This bridge created by French artist Olivier Grossetête, called the ‘Pont de Singe’or ‘Monkey Bridge’ is, in fact, strong enough to hold one small person.
Although not trained as an architect, Grossetête is best known for creating miniature bridges and towers from cardboard, and says he is fascinated by the physical sciences. With the help of his parents – both scientists – he made the calculations for the suspended bridge.
However, he doesn’t recommend wading in and trying to climb on. Passage across this fantastical bridge is dangerous, especially in high winds, and the structure is placed in the centre of the water to prevent sharp objects from threatening the balloons.
Of course, the bridge is more about the allure of possibility than the physics of lift and drag. ‘I think our imagination takes us far – that little frustration and not being able to climb above can be largely enhanced by contemplation,’ Grossetête says.
Photos courtesy of Olivier Grossetête, Toby Savage and Thierry Bal