And while the British people decide to, as we say in Italian, “rompere i ponti” (break bridges – sever ties) with Europe, we talk of those who decided to build bridges.
The bridge as a structure (natural or artificial) to overcome obstacles and connect has always been a symbol of union, of a will to get closer, to facilitate us the way. Personally, even though sometimes poorly reduced and shaky, I just can not see a bridge as something negative. And there is someone, in this June of uncertainty, who has decided to build bridges full of positivity.
Two bridges are the protagonists of this early summer, both in Italy.
The first, undoubtedly the most famous, The Floating Piers, located on Lake Iseo in the north of Italy. The second, a bit less discussed, The Bridge of Love, on the waters of Arno River in my beloved Florence.
The Floating Piers is a work of art for its own sake, free and open to the public 24 hours that is born from an idea of American artist Christo (although it seems reductive to call him American since he was born in Bulgaria and spent good part of his life in the old continent) and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. Apparently the couple come up with the original idea in 1970 but it remained in a corner until in 2014, Christo Vladimirov Yavachev, found in Lake Iseo the inspiring place for its creation.
Curious is the story of the couple, born on the same day, June 13, 1935, one in Bulgaria the other in Casablanca, after travels and adventures their lives collide in 1958 in Paris and in spite of relationships and marriages are trying to get in their way, fate had planned for them a life of art and love together. This romantic story, that seems the plot of one of those black and white movies that I love so much, is only the background of what we can just define the greatest artistic duo of large scale works of our century. And after having bundled fountains and built linen walls, despite the departure of Jeanne-Claude, Christo continues to create magnificent things as The Floating Piers, the orange fabric floating bridge that stretches for 4.5 km (suspended over 3km) on the waters of a lake in northern Italy.
Cost $ 17 million, financed through the sale of the original artist’s sketches, this floating bridge has the temporary duration of 16 days in which anyone can access, experiencing the feeling of walking on water or, as Christ says, “on the back of a whale “, enjoying the view from a new perspective and colors of the bridge which due to water and light changes from orange to red and gold. But the thing that fascinated me of this art work was that, as stated by Christo himself, “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone “.
Recalling what we said about the last work of Calatrava, it is, therefore, once again, something beautiful built just for the sake of the public, even if for a short time.
As for The Bridge of Love we must instead contextualize.
From June 13th to 17th Florence hosted Firenze4Ever 13th edition, the digital platform designed from concept store Luisa Via Roma, which tells the fashion through the eye of fashion bloggers. This year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the flood of Florence, the theme was Underwater Love, which celebrated the power to destroy and recreate common to both water and love.
Remembering and celebrating the efforts of millions of young people from around the world helped Florence in those days, this year Luisa Via Roma in collaboration with Bianca Balti proposes a project involving companies in the support, integration and employment of refugees.
To raise public awareness on the important social issue of refugees crisis, architect Claudio Nardi designed the Bridge of Love, formed by 9 floating “cubes” of white tulle, distributed between the Rive Droite and Rive Gauche and connected by passages and small bridges flanked by fragrant and steaming braziers.
A symphony of elements, who hosted the gala evening in favor of The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the conceptual exhibition Design on Water defining for the first time the river Arno as exhibition space and giving again a new perspective to the viewer.
In this case, therefore, the art, as often happens, is full of symbolism and has an exact purpose.
Therefore both bridges are, indeed, the birth of love. Love for people. So let them be an invitation to build more bridges, symbolic or not. Don’t we all need each other after all?