We have all heard the saying, “On the road of life, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” The Garden Bridge, a project by Thomas Heatherwick, one of Britain’s most celebrated designers, literally makes you do so.
Heatherwick has been responsible for a lot of magnificent projects which include a new version of London’s renowned double-decker bus and the magnificent 200-piece cauldron at the London Olympic Games. His studio’s latest project is, in fact, two projects. It’s a public park, and a major pedestrian bridge currently being referred to as the Garden Bridge.
The bridge was selected by Transport for London as the winning design for a new walkway that has been planned to extend from the Thames between Temple and the South Bank. Heatherwick sums up the whole idea beautifully stating that “The idea is simple; to connect north and south London with a garden.”
The proposal for the garden include trees, grasses, wildflowers and other native plants in abundance, with a mid-section designed to completely entrench the visitors in flowers and greenery. Outposts will be elevated on the edges of the bridge will provide the pedestrians with a remarkably fragrant place amidst the flora, to observe the bustling city.
Joanna Lumley, a well-known British actress, has been an advocate of this project for years. She believes that the garden will be astounding in every way providing people with a place where they can escape from the noise and traffic of the city. The flora of the sweet-smelling garden along with the tranquilizing sounds of birds chirping leaves rustling and the water rushing steadily will enable people to experience peace, beauty and magic.
This unconventional bridge, would although be universally enjoyable but it definitely would not be what we generally expect bridges to be like. It will take us from one side of the river to the other but it would not adhere to the implicit aim of all infrastructures, to be as efficient as possible. And while its curving paths aren’t exactly a maze in wonderland, the Garden Bridge is designed in a way to encourage you to wander and explore. Which is exactly why Lumley proudly notes: “It will be the slowest way to cross the river.”