Christo Unveils a Golden Walk on Water

Acclaimed artist Christo’s latest work, ‘The Floating Piers’ opens today on Lake Iseo, Italy. The work connects the mainland to two different islands on the lake with 3.4 miles of walkways made of buoyant cubes draped with a shimmering, yellow-gold nylon fabric.

The walkways are constructed with  220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes that are formed into 16 meter wide platforms. The buoyant cubes are covered with a waterproof and highly durable fabric made by a Germany company specifically for the project. Moving up and down with the water, the piers are 16 meters wide and sit around 50 centimeters above the water’s surface, sloping down gently to touch the water on either side.

Securely affixed to an even lake bottom, this feat of engineering and construction required the help of a French deep-sea diving team as well as a group of Bulgarian athletes over the past two years.

Starting today, the project will be open to the public 24 hours a day for the next 16 days (until July 3). With over 40,000 visitors expected, a team of lifeguards, information officers and other officials will be on hand in case of any unintended spills into the lake.

Christo (full name Christ Javachef) is famous for wrapping iconic monuments such as the Reichstag in fabric. Throughout his career, he collaborated on these projects with his wife, the French artist Jean-Claude. This is his first work since her death in 2009.

The project is financed by the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the project’s  16 day run, the components will be removed and either sold or industrially recycled.

All photography is copyright Wolfgang Volz.