In this project I worked as an artist in a team of bridge engineers and architects. Kaleidoscope is a competition entry for a bridge in Turku, Finland. The brief was to design a pedestrian bridge over the railway to the cultural event center known as Logomo, that would also serve as a landmark for the area.
The overall design with the lightweight twisting form was developed by Stephen James from Ramboll UK and engineering was done by Ramboll Finland. My responsibility was to create an integrated artwork that would give the bridge an artistic dimension and a strong identity.
Following the brief, the bridge was designed as a closed space in order to protect the users from rain and other undesirable weather conditions. Glass soon became the natural choice for material for the panels covering the form, to make the space feel less closed in.
My design process started with thoughts about the city's location. Turku is a coastal city, defined strongly by its archipelago and its relationship with the sea. The sea and the connections it allows is one of the reasons why Turku is one of the oldest cities in the country and the former capital. The sea is of course the Baltic Sea, one of the most polluted seas in the world. The protection of the Baltic Sea was one of the themes for the city's year as the European capital of culture - a title which Turku shared with Tallinn in 2011.
the bridge works as a symbol of the relationship with the city and its sea
In my design for an integrated artwork, the bridge works as a symbol of the relationship with the city and its sea. The colored glass turns the bridge into a world of water. The experience is enhanced with an interactive lighting, that reacts to the movement of people inside the bridge.
The pedestrians using the bridge are protected from the weather by glass paneling that covers the bridge from all its sides. The whole 150 meters long structure only contains three different panels of three different shapes.
The 17 colors used in the glass represent the 17 endangered species found in the Baltic sea. The bridge works a reminder of the fragility of this long relationship the city has with the sea, and us humans with nature.
The lighting of the bridge is programmed to react to the people moving inside the bridge with softly moving patterns, mimicking the movement of light from the sun, as seen from underwater. The light is to be used very delicately, to create a calm, yet lively atmosphere, characteristic of the worlds under water.