Rebond, a bounce of light enhances Bel-Air staircase

Rebond is an ephemeral installation built with photoluminescent structural material descending the stairs of the Bel –Air Tower in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Any structure overcomes the fate of the forces of nature. But it also embodies the disaster and the tragedy of its possible collapse, fall and accidental break. A delicate balance, apparently stable, that makes us forget the inevitable destiny of man-made artifacts.

The magnificent staircase along Bel-Air Tower bridges a height difference of four storeys connecting Lausanne centre with the lower neighbourhoods. In fact, this 1931 skyscraper urbanizes the city not only from the skyline but also on the ground floor. Despite its central position, the place has been forgotten and has become inhospitable, dirty and poorly frequented to the point of being stigmatized by the tragedy of a fatal fall.

Rebond describes the trajectory of a body falling down Bel-Air stairs. An arch-shaped structure explores the staircase geometry and brings to light possible rebound paths described while descending to Riponne square and the new Flon district. The project has a strong urban dimension interacting with adjacent streets and making visible its subtle bright path from different parts of the city. The installation, made of a new flexible fiberglass frame describing arcs up to 8 meters high, uses the latest photoluminescent additives technology enabling interaction with sunlight.

At the sundown, the installation glows, converting solid matter into light. The structure, apparently dematerialized by light and luminescence of the material, interacts with the city reminding us how disaster can stigmatize space. Rebond makes palpable the forms of fear.

The project, designed by Pablo Martínez Díez (www.pablomartinezdiez.com), has fostered a pioneering technical process carried out in collaboration with GC:ephemer (www.gcephemer.com) and several Swiss companies to develop a new material both luminous and structural.