Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain represents a walkable sculpture in the shape of a roller coaster. This magnificent work of art was created in Duisburg, Germany by a rather small team of designers and architects.
The concept and the design of the following pedestrian roller coaster came out of the head of Heike Mutter & Ulrich Genth. Arnold Walz of designtoproduction, Stuttgart, was entrusted with the parametric 3D planning and concept of the stairway system. The structural framework, on the other hand, was made by Prof. Michael Staffa and Andreas Hertel from ifb-Frohloff Staffa Kühl Ecker. Sonja Becker and Rüdiger Karzel from bk2a architecture, Cologne were also involved in the project, along with Carola Kemme, who coordinated the entire thing.
Essen, a town located in the same urban area as Duisburg, was selected as one of the Cultural Capitals of Europe in 2010. It should be noted that this sculpture was erected for that particular occasion. A lot of German organizations and private sponsors offered financial support to make sure that this art piece becomes reality.
Even though the walk-on sculpture features some interesting loops, the fact that it was built with pedestrians in mind suggests that it might actually be preferred by people who do not seek life-altering thrills. Adrenaline addicts should turn their looks from this masterpiece, as it is intended more for art lovers than for them.
Besides the fact that it has stair rails instead of railroad tracks, there is is basically no difference between the Tiger & Turtle sculpture and typical roller coasters. There are ups and downs, along with twists and curves that turn each walk into an exciting experience.
Most parts of the sculpture can be covered on foot by anyone. The more hardcore pedestrians will probably be more interested in walking on the upside-down portions. Some suggested anti-gravity boots or at least a system of harnesses for making the loop.
The pedestrian roller coaster looks particularly captivating at night, when LEDs light up the stair rails in a really hypnotizing way. By illuminating the paths, the creators of this sculpture made sure that it is usable any time of the day.
European Capitals of Culture have all sorts of innovative works of art that make the cities even more appealing to tourists and art lovers. It might not be a bad idea to keep an eye on these each year, just to see what other masterpieces spring up in Europe.