The Floating Piers: Christo's ‘Walk on Water’ Installation Opens in Northern Italy’s Lake Iseo

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 04:00
Christo installation Italy

A 3-km (1.9-mile) walkway has been installed on Lake Iseo in the northern region of Lombardy for people to ‘walk on water’, as the artist behind the large-scale installation, Christo, put it himself.

The floating walkway, made of yellow-orange nylon fabric supposed to change color depending on light, humidity and weather, connects the village of Sulzano on the mainland with the small islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo.

It took Christo and his team of engineers, divers, construction workers and even athletes two years to come up with a way to make the walkway feel as if the visitor is walking on water, while at the same time keeping it safely attached to the lake’s bottom. This was achieved through 200,000 interlocking floatable cubes forming a 16-meter wide base around which the waterproof fabric was mounted. Actual work to assemble and anchor the cubes to concrete slabs on the floor of Lake Iseo began in November.

In order not to take away from the feeling of walking on water, Christo has purposely not installed any handrails or safety fences. Lifeguards stand by on the walkway and on boats.

Christo Javacheff, the 81-year-old Bulgarian-American artist behind the installation, first envisioned a floating piers project 46 years ago.

Thousands of people lined up this past weekend to try out the experience, and thousands more are expected to visit before the installation closes on July 3, bringing an unusual number of visitors to the least famous lake of Italy’s lake region (Lake Como and Garda, and even Maggiore, are Iseo’s more popular neighbors).

The installation is open 24 hours a day and entrance is free. Rain and strong winds can limit access to the project.

To see the different phases of the Floating Piers’ installation, click here (photos and sketches give you an idea of how the project came about). 

Visit The Floating Piers website here