Remember that guy who set up the big orange gates across Central Park 10 years ago? Well, he’s back. Conceptual artist Christo just opened his most recent exhibition: a floating walkway in Italy that connects two islands on Lake Iseo to the mainland. And yes, you guessed it, it’s orange. Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009, envisaged the walkway in 1970 but their plans fell through. This past Thursday, a dream 46 years in the making became a reality. And it’s pretty sick. So, follow us as we take you on a tour of the walkway.
This is one of Christo’s sketches of the project. He and his late wife had originally imagined the walkway in Japan’s Tokyo Bay but were denied permits. In 2014, Christo found the perfect replacement location: Italy’s Lake Iseo. Visitors can experience these “floating piers” as they walk from Sulzano to Monte Isola and finally to the island of San Paolo.
Workers began to encircle the island of San Paolo with floating cubes in April 2016. The project needed 220,000 high-density, polyethylene cubes. Full disclosure: We don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds pretty legit.
Christo wanted a nice felt to cover the cubes so that the piers would give a little when walked on. The felt was imported from Montecolino to San Paolo by helicopter. And the piers were covered by 70,000 square meters of felt—that’s a lot of helicopter trips.
The project took two years to complete and was pretty complex. Here, a diver connects a crazy-strong rope with a breaking load of 20 metric tons to one of the anchors in the bottom of the lake. This allows the piers to stay in place. Kind of important.
The piers are covered by 100,000 square meters of orange fabric and can be seen from all areas surrounding the lake—from the mountains, the roads and by boat. Also, Christo personally paid for the entire project, estimated at 10 million Euro. He earns all his money from the sale of his sketches from the ’50s and ’60s. Those must be some sketches!
The walkway is 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) long and 16 meters (52 feet) wide. The piers are also free to the public and open 24/7. So if you’re planning a last-minute trip to Italy, definitely consider heading to Lake Iseo. You better move quickly though. The piers will only be around for another two weeks!