Festina Lente (latin for „make haste slowly“) is the latest bridge on the Miljacka river, built in 2012. Need for a bridge at this very location dates from 1989, when the first project contest was launched. After a series of failed project contests, the Association of Architects in Sarajevo held a competition in 2007. That contest finally produced an interesting winning project – a team of young designers (Amila Hrustić, Bojan Kanlić and Adnan Alagić) took the first prize. Not bad for students who at the time were second year bachelor studies on Product Design in Sarajevo’s Academy of Fine Arts. Festina Lente is a pedestrian bridge directly in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, and has become an important landmark. The bridge is characterized by simple and unique form, which symbolizes a connection between the spiritual and the profane, the embodiment of art on one side of the river, and a lively Radićeva street on the other, a very well-known meeting place in Sarajevo. By crossing over the bridge, the pedestrian has to go through the „gate“characterized by a spiral loop in the middle of the bridge, which symbolizes an important remaining element in the culture and tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bojan Kanlić, one of the designers of the bridge says: “…the idea was that the bridge itself has to be sculptural, unique and recognizable as a new town symbol. We took the basic form of the bridge and deconstructed it. The main line of the bridge draws its floral form from the secession (early 20th century) – the period in architecture during which the Art Academy was built. Because the white color of the Academy is perceived faster, the basic color of the bridge is anthracite gray as to not interfere with the splendor of the Art Academy.”
Construction of the bridge was relatively complex because of its unique form. Its main components are steel with aluminum plating, and the railings are made from laminated glass with wooden endings. The loop presents the critical point, and was designed to carry its own load. The bridge’s length is 38 meters, with its width varies from 4 to 7 meters. Two wooden benches are located underneath the loop, making the bridge a place of rest and meeting. The bridge is illuminated with white LED lights at night which are placed throughout the railings and bottom parts of the construction. This lighting’s placement gives the bridge an ethereal look at night. The bridge’s cost was more than one million Euros and, because of its complexity and the preparations, the process itself took over four years. Because of its modern look, unique design and technological innovations during its construction, Festina Lente became a new symbol of Sarajevo.
The story behind the name of the bridge is also interesting. It is a Latin proverb and what Bojan Kanlic, said is: “It is very typical for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to always make haste slowly. Even when they are in rush, they are late, but perhaps they prosper even if they are slow.”
author: Ajla Sinan, student of Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo translation and copyediting: Mirza Spužić, student of Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo