John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Now French skaters can Ollie North any time of the day, thanks to the equivalent of a million fireflies' cumulative photon storm.
Artists see things differently from most folks.
Prime example: In 2007, Korean-born (but Continental-living) Koo Jeong-a visited an island in the middle of France's Vassivière Lake for her exhibition, "Oussseux." Where normal tourists might just take a photo of the island's lighthouse and head back to land, the artist fell into a rapture over what she experienced as an "unreal, phantasmagoric and powerful dreamscape."
It's only suitable, then, that she's returned to give the island a skate park that's equally strange. "Otro," as this piece of grindable sculpture is called, is a bevy of craters and wormholes that glows at night, thanks to a type of phosphorescent concrete that more cities really ought to be using in infrastructure projects. Now French skaters can mongo foot or Ollie North any time of the day, thanks to the equivalent of a million fireflies' cumulative photon storm.
To build this thrashing apparition, Koo Jeong-a worked with the Brussels-based L'Escaut Architectures and Belgium skate collectives Brusk and Barricade. It took about four years to complete, and has more than 2,000 square feet of surface area spread over several bowls and three tunnels. For those who enjoy artist statements, here's part of hers for "Otro":
OTRO is an artwork made of bumps – the cradle – and hollows – bowls and tunnels. This work of Koo Jeong-A refers to both definitions of sculpture and representation: hollows and bumps, shadows and lights, soft or accentuated reliefs....
It is an art work to live, to experiment, not only from a sporting point of view but also from a sensorial, sensitive and artistic point of view. It establishes the link between the urban, practicable, sporting and playful aspect of the artwork as a skate park and the artwork from an artistic point of view as part of Koo Jeong-A’s world.
All photos courtesy of L'Escaut Architectures.