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UK architect has 'answer' to love locks bridge

Oliver Gee · 4 Jun 2015, 09:57

Published: 04 Jun 2015 09:57 GMT+02:00

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Colin Kovacs, a British architect in central Paris, lives close to the Pont des Arts bridge so knows all about the problem of the love locks.
He told The Local that after one of the bridge's balustrades collapsed last year under the weight of the padlocks attached to the railings, he vowed to find a solution.
In the weeks after he came up with an idea for a redesign "for a balustrade that you can't attach locks to".
He figured that the design was quite simple - railings that didn't reach the top, nor bottom of the balustrade, similar to stalactites and stalagmites in a cave (see picture below).
In fact, he thought the idea was so straightforward that the Town Hall would surely come up with the same, but officials announced they'd instead be installing clear plastic fencing. 
Kovacs says he is certain that vandals will graffiti over the panels, and has begun lobbying to get his voice heard in the hopes his balustrades will be put in place instead.

And people are listening.
French newspaper Le Parisien shared his idea on the morning of the deputy mayor's press conference for the removal of the love locks.
"The new idea is simple," Kovacs told The Local. "It maintains the motif that's all over Paris - that is balustrades with a cross on them - but with an original twist. It's not modern, but it's a little modern. I don't think a 19th century designer would have come up with it."
As for the original love locks, Kovacs admitted that he thought they were unsightly, but a good thing for Paris. 
"People loved doing it, they looked forward to it. You can't poo poo that. And I think Paris has been quite modern in its approach to it, they want these people to be happy. It's just that the city didn't want people destroying a bridge."
And padlocks could be placed on Kovac's balustrades, if tourists were still keen, he said.
"Of course, you can leave a lock on it if you want - but they'd be terribly easy to remove at the end of the day."
Indeed, locks would just have to be slipped off the railing at the top, after which they could then be possibly melted down and made into statues, the Brit continued.

(The bridge at the start of the 19th century)
Story continues below…
"I'm sure people would be equally happy to know their love lock had turned into a permanent statue," he said.
Kovacs will meet with officials from the Town Hall on the 16th of June, where discussions will also be launched as to which other bridges around Paris could benefit from his design.
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