Walking on water
The Floating Piers on Lake Iseo
Christo und Jeanne-Claude
16 days in 2016
The temporary work of art featured fabric-covered piers 3 kilometers in length, constructed across the water of Italy’s Lake Iseo, and continued along 2.5 kilometers of pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.
For a short time only
The lake’s water, the landscape, and the communities around it have all been part of The Floating Piers. An important part of this project is the temporary part, it has a nomadic quality – this is why after 16 days it was gone.
Free and accessible
On average over 72,000 people a day from around the world experienced The Floating Piers and explored the hosting communities around Lake Iseo, which offered food and drinks, and places for hikes where visitors could take in different vantage points of the piers.
Hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops recorded astonishing attendance, and images of Lake Iseo were broadcast on the major international networks. For the small island it’s been a challenge people enthusiastically met as this experience will have lasting impact on the future of the tourist industry of the area.
Success and perspectives
Christo financed the entire cost of The Floating Piers, approximately 18,000,000 Euros, including the assembly, installation, maintenance, security, and removal of the work of art. The artist does not accept sponsorship.
Over 1,000 people were employed by The Floating Piers. All project workers were paid, there were no volunteers, including manufacturers, engineers, building contractors, divers, pier monitors, lifeguards, boat captains, and security personnel. The majority of the monitors, which provided round-the-clock coverage on the piers, were local Italian residents from the Lombardy region.
Materials and Removal
The Floating Piers included:
- 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes and pins, manufactured by four different companies in Northern Italy, used to create a modular floating dock system on Lake Iseo.
- 100,000 square meters of nylon fabric and 80,000 square meters of felt to cover 3 kilometers over the piers on water and 2.5 kilometers of pedestrian streets. The yellow-dahlia fabric as well as the felt underlay will be re-manufactured and used in the production of new fabric products. The fabric may also be ground into a filler and used in such products as carpet underlayment.
- 200 concrete dead-weight anchors, weighing 5.5 tons each, specifically designed for the project. The anchors, used under water to hold the piers in place, will all be carefully removed from the lakebed and milled/shredded for filler and industrial re-use.
We will miss projects like this one very much.
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