Memory Bridge




Design Proposal
Cristina Morbi, Kristina Chan, Aurora Destro, Alberto Campagnoli Client: Leicester Art Trust
Performative. Memory. Environmental. Reconstruction.

For us, this work does not represent a memorial, nor a monument. Instead, our aim is to bridge the journey itself: historically, generationally, and visually. Inspired by Giuliano Mauri’s Green Cathedral , Richard Serra’s site-specific big-scale installation Te Tuhirangi Contour , ephemeral ascending structures using the language of in-construction architecture , Baubotanik’s Footbridge that utilizes living plants as construction material , and the astral instrument Jantar Mantar , we decided light, growth, and change would be the themes behind our proposal. It became important to us that the constructed work invites those passing through it to inhabit it: to walk, sit and experience the space through the days, weeks, and years. It became important for us that the path no longer simply be a means from A to B, but a utilised and celebrated space that also highlights this important and precious piece of Leicester’s rich history. In our reference images, you will notice no wall is solid. This is intentional. Through the brief and our research, we read recounts from later generations, stories of Uganda. Some of these stories had been idealised, others faded – narratives lost across time and distance. This resonated greatly as we realised there are gaps in their path as well. Solid walls are obstacles and barriers, while gaps give us breath. They represent how the present can interrupt the past, but also how the past is part of us: our heritage and journey.


Memory bridge is, at its core, a crossroads: between the past and future. It intersects the existing path through an escalating series of pillars. The pillars will consist of rebars. To one side, trees will be planted within them, much like the Mauri’s Green Cathedral, to the other side creeper species will grow up the rebars. A staircase will bridge these pillars and allow people to walk up into the tree canopy, where it will level off into a viewing platform.
This site-specific installation is precisely oriented on Belgrave Circle landscaped roundabout. The pillar structure does not cross the existing path in an orthogonal way. We decided to adapt it to the site by slightly rotating it, achieving its alignment with the cardinal points (east-west). Conceived to engage with people and evolve with time and seasons, it investigates the themes of memory, matter, time and performative landscape.


Re-Constructing and recording memories

The form itself, the decision to use rebar, represents reconstruction and rebirth. We want to create a work that is “becoming” and “rebuilding,” symbolising the lives of those who left Uganda to rebuild their lives here in the UK. The sculpture grows, shelter and elevates their story. It evolves and involves all who pass through.

Finally, we propose to add an embedded metal element to the existing path. These will represent the original journey, from Uganda to the UK. On them will be engraved text, sharing this with everyone who passes through. Community engagement is important to us. This is why, rather than use our own text, we propose to work with the local community members, interview them and craft these words from those whom this work is for.

Botanical Architecture

We propose planting Ginkgo Biloba trees as they grow in a columnar shape, growing with and completing the pillars. This ginkgo is also referred to as “Autumn Gold” because it turns a vibrant golden yellow during autumn, coinciding with Diwali. Facing west, the platform will let people watch the sunset: a celebration of colour and the promise of a new day. The other side will descend softly into the soil, rooting and grounding us. The retaining wall will offer a space for either a mural or additional design element. Both sides of the sculpture will end with seating, so the space can be enjoyed and inhabited.
Ultimately, the concept behind this artwork is to acknowledge. This story is one of hardship, but also of hope. The original path, embedded with stories of the past, allow us to remember, acknowledge, and commemorate. We imprint them into the path in the same way we do our memories. In this way they do not fade. But there is an intersection too. In leaving one place, we arrive in another. Ending cannot escape beginnings. Because this is also a story of home: of leaving one and to find another. This 50th anniversary is a chance to embrace all sides of the story, celebrating Leicester’s rich history and diversity.

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