Peace offering

Monday 28 Jun 2010

New bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia, connects the nation's history with the present day

Straddling the Mtkvari river in Tbilisi, Georgia, is an arresting new pedestrian bridge, courtesy of Italian architect Michel De Lucchi and French lighting director Philippe Martinaud. The structure is composed of glass and iron connecting Old Tbilisi with the new district, and boasts a 150m canopy roof of steel and glass. Officially opened on 6th May this year, the bridge was ordered by the city hall of Tbilisi in an effort to create a contemporary design feature to put the capital on the architectural map.

The bridge provides a unique view of the Metekhi Church and Narikala Fortress to one side, and Baratashvili Bridge and President Residence to the other. More than a simple river crossing, The Bridge of Peace possesses an interactive light display system. 30,000 LEDs and 240 sensors installed within the structure convey specific messages, scrolled across the two parapets of the bridge every hour. The universal messages are relayed in Morse code and signify the human elements according to the Mendeleiev table. Martinaud explains: “I so wanted to symbolise Man by what establishes him organically, physiologically: the chemical elements of the human body. This message celebrates life and peace between people.” The result is such that the shimmering structure takes on an almost biological form – a marine creature undulating across the river.

At the opening of the bridge in May, the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili announced: “This bridge is a symbol of Georgia’s way from the past to the better future. This is a bridge between Georgia’s great history and the present times. This bridge also embodies the most important thing in the concept and style of our governance - transparency, mobility, purposefulness and modernity that conforms with the contemporary world.”

Sian Disson
Editorial Assistant

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