Monday, 19 January 2015
The Rolling Bridge
Heatherwick is the mad professor of contemporary British steam punk, and the rolling bridge is a little essay in piston powered urbanism, a manifesto in the potential to mechanise and make-magic the otherwise pedestrian experience of all cities everywhere. Health and safety has taught us to relegate our more eccentric dreams to virtual realities where no one can get hurt. Here (yellow jackets in attendance mind) a spring loaded imagination is let loose, like a venus fly trap animating what ought to be static, Aladdin's carpets floats an inch off the cobbles and the bridge yawns into life, quivering a gang plank of mischief, into a scorpion's tail, and finally the clam closes a clenched fist around a motorcycle's circus cage. And then all again in reverse, slow as a prayer that we might see such graces abound on every street corner. Tragically, it is a bridge over water untroubled by any maritime activity, festering in Paddington's backwater of over-developed cynicism and aluminium cladding, the bridge is cruelly gratuitous and safely out-of-sight, a folly dormant all other hours but 12pm on a Friday.