Paul Cocksedge is creating a permanent timber bridge across the Liesbeek River in Cape Town, using cross-laminated timber (CLT) sourced from the invasive Eucalyptus tree to build the structure. It’s the studio’s first project in South Africa, initiated by Design Indaba and developed in partnership with WSP and building company XLAM.
Titled “Exploded View Bridge,” the design takes inspiration from the way planks of wood are stacked on top of one another, with the bridge resembling an ‘exploded’ view of one of these bundles. The timber lines come together and create clusters of benches, offering people a place to sit, and enjoy the river views as well as local nature and wildlife. Paul Cocksedge Studio is currently developing the bridge, which is due for completion in 2021.
It’s the second time Cocksedge has explored the use of wood and its environmental credentials – following on from his Please Be Seated installation at London Design Festival 2019. CLT is a more sustainable alternative to concrete, masonry and steel, requiring less water and energy to manufacture. By harvesting timber from an invasive species, Cocksedge hopes to mitigate its negative environmental affects – which include its impact on the water table. “It has been incredibly exciting working with the team at Design Indaba and with the design community in South Africa, which has been the first for myself and my team,” says Cocksedge. “This bridge is a relatively simple visual gesture, but it addresses important issues around our environment, and how we can innovate with CLT to create new structures.”