De­signer ex­plains his glass ‘bridge of love’

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Zhangji­a­jie, Hu­nan

In Zhangji­a­jie in Cen­tral China’s Hu­nan prov­ince, there stands a glass bridge. Its Is­raeli de­signer, Haim Dotan, said it sym­bol­izes love and na­ture.

“It will be anewicon in­China,” Dotan said in an in­ter­view on Sun­day, a week af­ter the bridge opened to the pub­lic for trial oper­a­tion.

Born in Jerusalem, Dotan has a con­nec­tion with China that is cen­tral towhohe is. His grand­par­ents came to China in the 1910s, and in 1919 his moth­er­was­born in Shang­hai.

“The Chi­nese saved the lives of my grand­par­ents and gave life to my mother. I am alive be­cause of China,” Dotan said.

He first came to China 30 years ago, and for Dotan it felt like he was re­turn­ing home.

In 2010, he de­signed the Is­raeli Pav­il­lion at the World Expo in Shang­hai, where he met a client who asked if he could de­sign a bridge in Zhangji­a­jie, an area fa­mous for its scenery, par­tic­u­larly its oth­er­worldly moun­tains that ap­peared in the Hol­ly­wood block­buster Avatar.

“Na­ture is beau­ti­ful,” Dotan said. “But how can I de­sign a bridge that is in­vis­i­ble and can dis­ap­pear?”

Chi­nese philoso­pher Lao Tzu was an in­spi­ra­tion for Dotan.

“He once wrote that ‘great mu­sic is un­heard and good form is in­vis­i­ble’,” Dotan said.

He de­cided to use glass and build the bridge in the shape of a but­ter­fly, so that vis­i­tors feel like they are stand­ing on air. He used white for the handrails — clouds.

The bridge is 430 me­ters long and 6 me­ters wide, with a glass-bot­tom walk­way sus­pended 300 me­ters above the canyon.

Com­pris­ing 99 panes of three-layer trans­par­ent glass, the bridge set 10 world records for de­sign and con­struc­tion, and went through many ex­per­i­ments to en­sure safety.

A max­i­mum of 8,000 vis­i­tors are al­lowed to cross the bridge each day. Areser­va­tion must be made one day ahead.

Above all, he would like to see it­be­come“a bridge of love”.

“Lovers can walk on the bridge and say, ‘I love you’. Their voice will then echo through the canyon,” Dotan said. the color of

ZHOU GUOQIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Vis­i­tors walk on the glass­bot­tom bridge in Zhangji­a­jie, Hu­nan prov­ince, on Aug 20, its open­ing day.

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