The Floating Piers

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014-16
Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2016 Christo

In northern Italy in the striking setting of Lake Iseo, located between Brescia and Bergamo, the breath taking fantasy of two internationally acclaimed artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude has transformed this lake into a unique work of art that lets people quite literally walk on water.
Until 3rd July 2016 the lake is being reinvented as “Floating Piers”. 100,000 square meters of polyethylene cubes covered in bright orange fabric will float in the waters of the lake from the mainland in Sulzano to Monte Isola and the island of San Paolo giving tourists the exclusive experience of a 3km long walkway on the water.

This incredibly ambitious project was originally conceived back in 1970 by Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude, a married couple who created environmental works of art all over the world. Just in the spring 2014 (Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009), Christo and the project manager Josy Kraft, nominated Lake Iseo as the perfect and most inspiring location for this major art work.

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Left: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers, Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2015 Christo
Right: Christophe Floating Piers (Project for Lake Iseo, Italy) Collage 2015 11 x 8 1/2″ (28 x 21.5 cm) Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, aerial photograph and fabric sample Photo: André Grossmann © 2015 Christo

Christo and Jeanne-Claude first collaborated in 1961 with an artwork featuring the use of covered barrels at the port in Cologne. In 1962, the couple began their first monumental project, Rideau de Fer (Iron Curtain), where, as a statement against the Berlin Wall, they blocked off Rue Visconti with oil barrels. The Visconti project made Christo and Jeanne-Claude rather well known in Paris.
The Floating Piers does not require a ticket and is open to the public. They have been created and visualised as an extension of the street that belongs to everyone and therefore they cannot be privatised. The goal for the two artists has always been to create works of art that bring joy and beauty to people and this has always been done without a fee.
As all the Christo and Jeanne-Claude works of art, at the end of the exhibition all the components of the “Floating Piers” will be removed and industrially recycled.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014-16 Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2016 Christo

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