Christo’s “Floating Piers” turn Lake Iseo into a massive work of art
Christo and Jeanne-Claude started thinking about The Floating Piers construction in 1970. Their initial location was Rio de la Plata, which lies between Argentina and Uruguay. Before moving on to other projects, the couple considered Tokyo Bay as a location.
Christo chose Lake Iseo as the site for The Floating Piers in late 2013, and the project took 22 months to complete. It was his first major undertaking following the death of his partner and collaborator Jeanne-Claude. The floating piers’ construction is made of over 200,000 plastic floating dock cubes that have been coated with 70,000 square meters of an iridescent yellow fabric (reinforced nylon) and are attached to the lake bottom with 170 weights of 5 tons each.
The project was initially estimated to cost $11 million, but the final cost was closer to $17 million.
Christo raised the funds through the sale of his project sketches and original art. Permits were obtained in less than a year.
With The Floating Piers, Christo gives the visitors uncommon opportunities to walk on water, experience artwork by moving to and for it, and create unconventional perspectives on the lake, its villages, and its surroundings.
Opening and Closing of The Piers
The saffron-colored walkway opened to the public on June 18, 2016. In the first five days, 270,000 people came to see the free installation. Because of the unexpectedly large crowds, organizers began closing the installation each day from midnight to 6 a.m. to allow for cleaning. The large crowds caused some confusion at the main train station in nearby Brescia on June 22, 2016.
The work was closed to the public on July 3, 2016. Over the course of its 16-day run, officials estimated that it drew 1.2 million visitors or an average of 72,000 per day. Police estimates put the number of visitors per day at 100,000. The project’s deconstruction began early on July 4, 2016.
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