PaperBridge: A Load-Bearing Arch of Paper Sheets Spans an English Creek

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all photos by Steve Messam courtesy the artist

While it’s certainly not the longest, this weight-bearing structure is definitely one of the more interesting bridges we’ve come across. Unveiled earlier this month, PaperBridge is the latest site-specific installation by environmental artist Steve Messam. It was constructed using 22,000 sheets of bright, red paper. And despite weighing in at over 4.2 tons, the free-standing structure doesn’t have a single screw, bolt or swab of glue holding it together.

On an aesthetic level, PaperBridge acts as focal point that creates a stark contrast between the bridge and the lush landscape. But on a conceptual level, Messam explains the key relationship between the bridge and its surroundings:

Paper is a simple material made from wood pulp and water. The intensity of colour used in the bridge contrasts with the verdant landscape making a bold statement of form and design. Alongside this the materials used have a resonance with the natural environment and the construction of the bridge also reflects local architectural forms, specifically pack horse bridges found throughout the area. All of the paper used in PaperBridge will be recovered and returned to the Burneside Mill for recycling into new paper once the project ends. This transparent cycle is part of the overall environmental narrative of the piece.

PaperBridge was part of the ‘Lakes Ignite’ project. It was located in the Grisedale Valley, near Patterdale and the public was invited to walk across it before it gets taken down today. (via Designboom and The Kid Should See This)

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