This Footbridge in the Netherlands Transforms With Rising Waters

© NEXT architects
© NEXT architects

Twenty-six percent of the Netherlands lies below sea level, making the country vulnerable to floods. This is especially true of the 2000-year-old city of Nijmegen, which straddles the Waal river. The town is home to many examples of flood-resistant infrastructure, but one footbridge there works a bit differently. Instead of building it around the threat of rising waters, the designers of the Zalige bridge made a crossing that changes along with its environment, according to Co.Design.

Commissioned as part of the Netherlands’s Room for the River infrastructure program, it connects the Waal’s northern bank to a small island that’s part of a public park. NEXT architects, in collaboration with H+N+S Landscape Architects, made a bold choice when designing it: The path curves up and down, and at one point is level with the park’s floodplains. When the river resides at normal levels, pedestrians can walk the bridge in its entirety. Only when water levels rise is the reasoning behind the unusual shape revealed. The flooded path leaves behind a series of raised concrete blocks sticking out of the water, and to keep moving, people must hop from one block to the next.

The bridge opened in 2016, but it made news again this January when Nijmegen saw its highest water levels in 15 years. As the river rose, the Zalige bridge could be reached only by using the stepping stones. Residents flocked to the site for a closer look at the water, ignoring instructions from authorities to avoid the park as flooding continued. Eventually the water became so high that even the blocks were completely submerged, but not before demonstrating the bridge’s innovative approach to an old problem.

NEXT writes on the project webpage, "As a crest above the river, the bridge emphasizes the dynamic character of water by letting people see and experience the changing river landscape."

People biking on path.

People walking on bridge.

People walking on path.

People walking on path.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: © NEXT architects

How Makeup Artists Transformed Heath Ledger Into The Joker in 'The Dark Knight'

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Heath Ledger gets most of the credit for reinventing The Joker with his performance in the 2008 film The Dark Knight. But creating a look for the character that diverged from the comic books was a collaborative process, and makeup artist John Caglione Jr. played an essential role.

In an interview with IGN, Caglione reflected on the makeup he did for The Dark Knight that earned him an Academy Award nomination. Unlike his work on movies like Dick Tracy (1990) and Chaplin (1992), precision wasn't the goal in this case. Instead, he wanted to give The Joker an organic appearance that matched director Christopher Nolan's realistic take on Gotham City and a crazed style that reflected the character's unpredictable nature.

"What would it be if this guy slept in his makeup?" he said in the interview. "If he didn't spruce up his makeup for two weeks? You think of a clown's makeup and for the most part they're pretty detailed with sharp lines, but this had to be the opposite of that."

Caglione worked with Ledger to scrunch and contort his face as he applied the makeup—an old trick borrowed from theater. This method resulted in lines and creases in the paint that made it look like the character had been wearing his makeup for days.

The makeup artist also drew inspiration from classic art and cinema when crafting the character. At the start of the design process, Nolan sent Caglione a book of abstract Francis Bacon portraits for him to reference. During the interrogation scene, The Joker's dark eye makeup is smudged above his eyebrows, a nod to Eric Campbell who played the villain in many Charlie Chaplin films.

You can watch the full interview below.

[h/t IGN]

This Saddle-Shaped School Chair Encourages Kids to Sit Up Straight and Pay Attention

iStock
iStock

Getting kids to face forward and sit up straight is a challenge most schoolteachers face. The new Saddle Seat from designer Mashiko Ito is designed to make their jobs easier. As dezeen reports, students who use the chair are encouraged to improve their posture and focus on what's in front of them.

As the name suggests, the Saddle Seat curves like a saddle rather than lying flat like a conventional chair seat. Sitters need to straddle it if they want to stay balanced. This forces them to sit still and upright, the position the designer noticed most kids take when they're paying attention in class, rather than slouching back in their chairs and fidgeting, which often means there isn't much learning going on.

Ito studied product and furniture design at Kingston School of Art in the UK before reinventing the school chair. He writes on his website that he not only wanted to create something that would improve student behavior in the classroom, but that would also teach kids to sit in a way that sets them up for a healthier life.

The Saddle Seat isn't ready for consumers yet, but Ito is already showing it off. It was on display at the New Designers showcase in London from July 4 and July 7.

[h/t dezeen]

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