New Bridge Art Design Revealed

Leading members of Plymouth’s construction industry have delivered the re-energised ‘Polish Bridge Art’ on Gdynia Way as part of their community engagement efforts towards a lasting legacy for Mayflower400.

Welcoming visitors to Plymouth on The Road to Mayflower

Coordinated by Building Plymouth, The Road to Mayflower volunteering team has aimed to improve the visitor welcome experience from Marsh Mills Roundabout through creating The Mayflower Forest and now, by delivering the striking new art design on the well-known Cattedown Road Bridge along Gdynia Way.

Unveiling Gdynia Way’s new bridge art

Project Lead Emma Hewitt said: “As a team of volunteers who feel passionate about Plymouth, we wanted to make a difference and recognised that this bridge located on a main gateway into the city could offer a much improved visitor welcome impression. We also felt it provided the perfect opportunity to more explicitly promote and celebrate the Twinning relationship between the cities of Plymouth UK and Gdynia in Poland which has existed since September 1976. We have enjoyed engaging with the Saturday Polish School and Plymouth Gdynia Twinning Panel to help inform our new bridge art design.

“I must extend huge thanks to construction friends including Stride Treglown, Midas Construction and Jem Scaffolding, who along with support from Mayflower400, SWH and Plymouth City Council, have enabled us to make this project a reality”.

The bridge design is finally revealed

Charles Hackett, CEO of Mayflower 400 said: “This is an impressive achievement and we are very grateful to The Road to Mayflower team who have worked hard in their own time to improve the experience for visitors arriving in Plymouth and support the Mayflower400 commemorations.

“The Road to Mayflower team have engaged with the local Polish community, fundraised, co-ordinated the project, and commissioned a local designer, delivering a legacy project for us to be proud of. The refreshed art design speaks so positively to visitors and residents of Britain’s Ocean City, and prominently acknowledges our local Polish community and twinned relationship with the city of Gdynia which is fantastic!”

Creating the new design

Once The Road to Mayflower team had secured private sector sponsorship from the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, City Centre Company, WBD and Midas Construction, along with Mayflower Sparks Funding through the Saturday Polish School, James Edgar Studio, a local design agency, was commissioned to create and install the new art design for the bridge.

James Edgar, owner of James Edgar Studio said: “Our bridge art design has been informed through in-depth research, design thinking, and our insightful field trip to Gdynia enabled us to fully immerse ourselves with the city’s amazing culture. We learnt that Gdynians are known as the ‘Sledz’ (the Herrings) with two Sledz featured on their flag as Herrings spawn in the shallows of the Baltic.

“Gdynia is firmly focused on the future and there is a real sense of positivity and determination so we felt it was important for our design to reflect a similar positive message. ‘Make Waves’ is positive and bold whilst acknowledging the City’s relationship with the ocean, and strengths and expertise in marine and maritime.

“In the studio we decided to embrace the complicated bridge structure and develop a grid to complement the design. A Herringbone pattern was developed in line with Gdynia’s graphic aesthetic and architecture. The pattern evolves from herringbone into waves which joins both sides. Gdynia’s design integrity meant colour and typography were an important consideration. A colour palette of deep dark blues of the Baltic and the lighter Atlantic hues were chosen and Gdynia’s historical road sign typography was reworked to create a recognisable but very legible font.

“We feel privileged to be part this project which celebrates the twinning of two cities. As a Plymothian, I hope this will be a catalyst to literally build bridges between countries, communities and cultures and showcase our city as a positive and creative coastal destination.”

James at the bridge works

Plymouth and Gdynia – twinned for over 40 years

Wiktor Dworznikowski, President of the Plymouth Gdynia Twinning Panel said: “I grew up in Gdynia, but I have called Plymouth my home for the last 20 years. I am one of 15,000 Poles living in Plymouth and everything in Plymouth that reminds me of my hometown, Gdynia, is close to my heart.

“I was delighted when The Road to Mayflower team proposed the idea of raising funds to update the bridge art over Gdynia Way. I have been so impressed with the professional approach from the team and I’m happy that James Edgar the designer used ideas he gained from working with the children from the Plymouth Saturday Polish School and his visit to Gdynia.

“The Gdynia Way Bridge is important to us, it is a symbol of the long-lasting relationship between our cities, which I hope continues long into the future.”

Wiktor Dworznikowski and the ‘Polish Bridge’

Watch the ‘Polish Bridge’ art design project video here

Find out more about the Road to Mayflower projects here

Frequently asked questions_The Polish Bridge Art Project March 2021.pdf