When Joanna Lumley called for a Garden Bridge from the roof of the National Theatre in 2013, she probably didn’t realise she was brainwashing the entire city. Or rather, greenwashing: the act of convincing people something is environmentally friendly when it isn’t. The Garden Bridge, which got the green light last November, 'will inflict huge damage to the area and won't offer any tangible improvement to the city', declared A Folly For London. The campaign group, led by artist Will Jennings, is striking out against the £175 million project in a way that us Brits do best: satire. AFFL has already forced discussion around the plans and now it's launched a competition to see what other absurd folly could take the bridge's place. Entries so far include a huge concrete dog pooping out a gigantic golden turd that absolutely must be polished daily and a roller coaster linking the banks either side of The Thames.
Artists, architects and designers of all levels and ages are invited to submit ideas until August 28, when a panel of judges will pick a winner. AFFL's aim behind this sardonic venture is to inform the public of the key downsides of the Garden Bridge. These include the fact that 30 mature trees will be felled to make way for the attraction; £60 million of the building costs – plus £3.5m in annual maintenance – will come from public money; and nine other bridges already exist within a couple of miles, deeming it somewhat redundant.
If you're feeling inspired to pick up a pencil or cut and paste a Photoshop masterpiece to rival the Garden Bridge, you must design with these rules in mind:
– It must cost at least £60 million of Londoners' hard-earned wages.
– Spread across as much of the South Bank site in front of the ITV building as possible.
– The Thames footpath is nice and all, but narrow that horrid outdoor space to result in maximum overcrowding.
– Remove all visible nature!
– Lastly, be sure to block any pleasant views. Eurgh, views.
For more details about how to get involved, visit afollyforlondon.co.uk.