We Americans give Frenchies, and Parisians in particular, a fair amount of flak, and mostly deservedly so. Their au natural ways, ineptitude at war (post-Napoleon of course), obsession with baguettes, and general snobbish disposition rub us the wrong way and make them easy targets. However, we should also give credit where credit is due – they have gotten A LOT of things right in their time: French food, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre (full of artwork commadiered by Napoleon), baguettes, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and Brigette Bardot. They also came so close to creating the most awesome bridge in the world – a trampoline bridge over the river Seine.
The river Seine is the main river flowing through Paris, and though it already has 37 bridges over it in the city, they are French and thus could not resist the idea of putting in one more. Accordingly, this past October the city held an Archtriumph competition to choose a design for the new bridge. The firm Atelier Zündel Cristea submitted this beauty, which (almost) inexplicably came in third place to this thing. AZC’s description of the bridge is almost as fantastic as the bridge itself:
Saut de Seine is an inflatable bridge equipped with giant trampolines, dedicated to the joyful release from gravity as one bounces above the river. Installed near the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, the Saut de Seine Bridge is formed of inflatable modules, like giant life-preservers, 30 meters in diameter. In the central part of each ring, a trampoline mesh is stretched. The floating buoys, fabricated in PVC membrane, are attached together by cord to form a stable and self-supporting ensemble. Each module under tension, about 30m diameter – filled with 3700 cubic meters of air – develops in space with an arch-like form. Le total length of the bridge is about 94m. The Saut de Seine allows every visitor a novel view of Paris from his or her own unique spatial position: upright and leaping, upside down and tumbling, gliding above like a circus performer… The installation is located in direct relationship to Eiffel’s tower, itself a symbol of ephemeral architecture designed to provide a unique experience: a view of all of Paris. We think the superposition of these two works reveals a specific kind of architecture: one designed to install an experience of happiness in the city.
There is one small problem with the Parisian Bouncy Bridge though: the lawsuits would flow in like the butter over a plate of escargot. Trampoline injuries are one of the cornerstones of personal injury liability these days. Unfortunately, it is insanely easy to injure yourself on a trampoline, and even easier to bring a lawsuit against the owner if you haven’t signed a liability waiver. Most commercial places have you sign one before being able to use their trampolines, but I cannot imagine the Parisian government being able to gather a signature from everyone crossing the river. Sadly, this is one of those times where the costs outweigh the astronomical awesomeness of the benefits. Still, I must tip my hat to these creative and dreamy Frenchies. This has to be one of the coolest ideas I have seen in quite some time.