Terje Johansen, Studio S
In 1501, Leonardo da Vinci designed a bridge to span the Golden Horn inlet between present-day Istanbul and Pera, Turkey.
A pedestrian bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci was finally realized in Oslo, Norway by acclaimed Norwegian artist Vebjørn Sand. From a tiny drawing done more than 500 years ago was born the first ever civil engineering project based on a Leonardo da Vinci design. On October 31, 2001 it was dedicated and unveiled by Norway’s, Queen Sonja. A powerful metaphorical image of crossing barriers, forging connection, peace-making, mediation.
The Leonardo Bridge Project, Inc. (www.leonardobridgeproject.org) is a non-profit public art project, with status through the Allied Arts Foundation, that promoted construction of the Oslo bridge. Vebjørn Sand’s artistic intention for the Project is to build reinterpretations of the eloquent design in local materials in collaboration with local artisans and architects in communities throughout the world, creating a global network of public footbridges symbolizing our shared human destiny.
Their hope is the global project will inspire the best in human creative endeavour across cultural, political and ethnic lines. It is a rare opportunity to bring public art, science, civil engineering and architecture together to create permanent, functional and unique footbridges that will both enhance the beauty of public space for local communities and extend those communities into a shared network of Earth’s human community: “Our goal for building the bridge on every continent is what we call ‘ citizen diplomacy through art’.
After five years of concerted effort, design work has now begun on the footbridge to be built in Istanbul, Turkey, across the Golden Horn (Halik) where Da Vinci originally intended the project.
The Istanbul Leonardo Bridge will span 240 meters as Leonardo intended. The materials will combine Leonardo’s granite with modern, environmentally sustainable building materials expressing the powerful, timeless beauty of the bridge’s ingenious geometry.
The Project has also has had a global educational impact. Vebjørn Sand has built four bridges – two intended to melt – in ice. In 2007, the Ice Bridge was a featured part of “ANTARCTICA: On Thin Ice” at United Nations headquarters in New York. This bridge, a sister bridge to the permanent installation in Antarctica (see photo below), was intended to melt to dramatize the fragile condition of the Earth’s ice cover. In 2009, Vebjørn Sand built the ice bridge in Greenland and later that year built another ice bridge sculpture which was part of the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
Our new eBook, The Virtuosa Organisation, which plugs into the da Vinci values and virtues, uses his bridge as a metaphor for crossing divides at very levels as organisations strive to become virtuous.