Christo & Jeanne Claude: The Floating Piers
Project for Lake Iseo, Italy
June 18 to July 3, 2016 (weather permitting)
Christo continues to be inspired to bring wonders to our environment on a large scale, now again in Italy. The original concept for his latest work, The Floating Piers, was conceived in 1970 together with Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in November 2009. The Floating Piers is Christo’s first large scale project since the couple realized The Gates in 2005. Although without his life partner, Christo continues with his work on other major projects as well: Over The River and The Mastaba.
Located about 60 miles east of Milan, Lake Iseo features an island, home to approximately 2000 residents who rely on water transportation with boats and ferries. Now, at least temporarily, residents and visitors alike are able to “walk on water.”
From June 18 to July 3, 2016, weather permitting, Italy’s Lake Iseo expects around 40,000 visitors a day, but those numbers have more than doubled on some days. Even the nearest train route in Brescia was stalled as a way to control the number of travelers flooding the area, where great enthusiasm for the project has been maintained.
A 3-kilometer-long walkway was created as The Floating Piers extend across the water of Lake Iseo. The piers are 16 meters wide and approximately 35 centimeters high with sloping sides. The painterly fabric continues along 2.5 kilometers of pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio, welcoming with its color and softness. 70,000 square meters of shimmering saffron-yellow nylon fabric, carried by a modular floating dock system of 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes, undulate with the movement of the waves as The Floating Piers rise just above the surface of the water.
Visitors are experiencing this work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the small island of San Paolo, which it encircles. The mountains surrounding the lake offer a bird’s-eye view of The Floating Piers, exposing unnoticed angles and altering perspectives. The area has been unindated with tourists and travelers who have come to share the experience that the artists intended, as with other projects, to be free and open to the public as Christo intended: “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone.” The Piers are open 24 hours a day except when temporarily closed for maintenance.
“I know these projects are totally irrational, totally useless. The world can live without them, nobody needs them, only me and Jeanne-Claude. She always made the point that they exist because we like to have them, and if others like them, it’s only a bonus.” – Christo
And, of course, we like it!
As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, The Floating Piers is funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the 16-day exhibition, all components will be removed, parts will be sold and industrially recycled.
SACI is proud to include Christo (and formerly Jeanne-Claude) as a members of the SACI Artists Council.