A Time Piece

Cool Wood

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The Tour de France—known more for the cycling materials of carbon fiber and pneumatic rubber—added wood to its roster this year.

A temporary installation—created from locally sourced spruce in the Swiss countryside—was commissioned by the Vallée de Joux Tourisme in honor of the prestigious men’s 21-stage cycling race. Its focus was to “promote the cultural, natural, and industrial heritage of the region.”

The Ephemeral Ring, as it was called, was created by Swiss designer and architect Fabien Roy. Roy worked as an architect for more than 10 years, but then set up his own studio for furniture and product design and interior architecture.

The circular creation, which sat 4 m tall and 50 m in diameter, looked like a clock face when seen from above, giving nod to the region’s watchmaking history. The Vallée de Joux, a valley in the Jura Mountains, is home to several luxurious Swiss watch brands, including Breguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The construction was made of 20 m3 of wood, making 5 km of wooden sticks; two lines of wood in the middle of the installation formed the clock’s hands.

On Saturday, July 9, cyclists rode past within 20 m of the installation during Stage 8 of the Tour.

The Ephemeral Ring was disassembled before the end of the summer, but there will be minimal environmental footprint. The pieces will be used in the construction field, showing, once again, that wood has a timeless tradition.

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