5 June 2013
The fictional bridges depicted on Euro banknotes have been been transformed into reality at a new housing development near Rotterdam.
Dutch designer Robin Stam was inspired by the seven images of archetypal bridges originally created by Austrian designer Robert Kalina to represent key phases in Europe's cultural history.
The illustrations on the banknotes show generic examples of architectural styles such as renaissance and baroque rather than real bridges from a particular member state, which could have aroused envy among other countries. "The European Bank didn't want to use real bridges so I thought it would be funny to claim the bridges and make them real," Stam told Dezeen.
The local council responsible for constructing a new housing development in Spijkenisse, a suburb of Rotterdam, heard about the idea and approached Stam about using his designs.
"My bridges were slightly more expensive but [the council] saw it as a good promotional opportunity so they allocated some extra budget to produce them," says Stam.
The bridges are exact copies of those shown on the banknotes, down to the shape, crop and colour.
"I wanted to give the bridges an exaggerated theatrical appearance – like a stage set," adds Stam, who poured dyed concrete into custom-made wooden moulds to make them.
All seven bridges surrounding the development have been completed and are being used by cyclists and pedestrians. Stam says they have divided opinion among residents: "Some people's initial impression is that the bridges are ugly but when they find out the story behind them they find it really funny."