by Inigo del Castillo in Architecture on Monday 28 April 2014

Instead of crossing bridges by walking or by riding a car, why can’t we bounce or flip our way across instead? This is what architecture firm AZC had in mind when they submitted a proposal to build an inflatable trampoline bridge for pedestrians to cross the Seine. The structure involves three inflatable doughnut-like rings with mesh trampolines stretched across each one, allowing pedestrians to bounce their way to the other side of the river. It also provides people two options upon reaching the end of the bridge: to exit by way of a staircase or by way of a slide.

We interviewed the innovative group behind this fun concept, read on to find out the inspiration behind it and how it came to be. [Read our original post the trampoline bridge here]

What was the inspiration for Saut de Seine?
The competition brief, A Bridge in Paris, allows us to locate an architectural reflection within this same realm of contemporary urban enjoyment. We note first that the notion of happiness is often linked to Nature. And we recognize that human beings remain nostalgic for and imaginative of a state of primal happiness, of ancestral times when body and spirit were essentially free. The city has grown to conform our movement to regular rituals and daily itineraries.

It appears to us that Paris has the bridges and passages necessary for the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic across its waterways. Our intention is to invite its visitors and inhabitants to engage on a newer and more playful path across this same water. We propose a distinctive urban feature: Saut de Seine, an inflatable bridge equipped with giant trampolines, dedicated to the joyful release from gravity as one bounces above the river.

What were the initial reactions of your peers when you decided to go with a trampoline design?
The Bouncing Bridge project, even without winning the competition, enjoyed remarkable worldwide visibility last year. We understood therefore that people had positive attitude towards happiness and fun and we decided to find a partner to develop the project in order to build it.

How did the culture and history of Paris factor in your design?
With the growth of World Cities in the 1990’s, the contemporary notion of the Urban Gathering was born. Its essential characteristic is the creation of a specific urban sense of time through a scheduled series of varied ephemeral events. This exists as part of the increasing competition between capital cities, seeking to attract and maintain highly mobile professional classes and to satisfy more stable populations with novel practices of urban space.

The city of Paris regularly proposes a wide variety of ephemeral events, including Paris Plage (summer leisure and sports), la Fête de la musique (live music), la Nuit Blanche (contemporary art in situ), la Foire de Paris (general commerce), celebrations on July 14 and New Year’s Eve… The French capital has, in fact, a centuries-old tradition of urban festivals dating back to the Foire Saint-Germain in 1176.

Any chance we could see this concept in real life soon?
We are in touch with different possible clients interested to this concept. Meanwhile a prototype through which the project was tested has been produced in Spain last November.