The company Alstom Marine and architect Jean-Philippe Zoppini are working together on an ambitious futuristic project: AZ Island. This titanic project for a high-tech, artificial island capable of movement was thought up by architect Jean-Philippe Zopponi. In 1981, he had already imagined “Isula”, a luxury floating city.
If AZ Island eventually sees the light of day, it will measure 400 metres long by 300 metres wide and be able to welcome up to 10,000 passengers. The ovoid island’s shape and size – 29 floors high and a surface area equivalent to 4 football fields – will necessarily limit its speed (4 times slower than a cruise ship). Obviously, the island will be too large to berth. A boat or helicopter will therefore be needed to access its cabin; for this reason, a landing pad and marina have been planned. AZ Island should also be able to withstand 20-metre-high waves, as well as hurricanes.
If the economic viability of this project is confirmed, it would in fact be less expensive to build per square metre than the world’s current largest ocean liner, the Queen Mary II – which was built by none other than Alstom Marine. But this €2 billion project is no ordinary naval construction and a feasibility test conducted by Alstom has uncovered major construction difficulties.
In addition to various technical and sustainable development issues, controversy is brewing concerning the potential use of this island. How will the island be used, if it turns out to be more than just a top-market tourist site? Some imagine that it could be transformed into a secure citadel for paranoid billionaires, while others believe that it could declare itself an autonomous territory and become, quite legally, a new fiscal paradise, following the example of Jersey, the Cook Islands and the Bahamas. If most multinationals then decided to relocate their headquarters to the island, what effect would this have on the world economic balance?