The artist with a penchant for wrapping cliff faces, skyscrapers, and even islands in swathes of bright-colored cloth is inviting Italians to walk on water with an over-two-mile-long walkway in the Mediterranean Sea that will be enveloped in shimmering yellow fabric.
Stretching across Lake Iseo in the Lombardy region, Italy, the makeshift, handrail-less bridge by Bulgarian-born wrap artist Christo will temporarily join the mainland to the lake islands. The fabric will then continue along pedestrian streets in two mainland towns, Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.
A modular dock system of approximately 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes will undulate with the flux of the waves, making the walk across “a very sexy experience,” according to Christo. Titled The Floating Piers, the buoyant installation is designed to be visible from the mountains above, where the more or less bird’s-eye view elicits a whole new dimension of experience.
Sketches show the walkway as looking tight-rope precarious—a sliver of a bridge lacking a guardrail, bobbing up and down on choppy waters.
In actuality, the piers will be 52 feet wide and about 1.6 feet high, so chances of mishap are diminutive. The Floating Pier will be Christo’s first large-scale installation since his 2005 The Gates in New York’s Central Park, which he made in collaboration with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude.
In the spring and summer of 2014, Christo and team scouted lakes in northern Italy as potential sites, but he and project director Germano Celant found Lake Iseo to be the most inspiring. Christo also previously eyed Argentina and Japan as potential locations, but local authorities refused him a permit.
Christo is best known for wrapping a cliff face in Little Bay, Sydney, Australia in 1969 with one million square feet of erosion-control fabric. Like all projects preceding it, The Floating Pier will be funded entirely by the sale of Christo’s original works of art. The artist, who has already raised $11 million, shrugged off the importance of exacting cost projection with: “It’s like a child, you can’t set out a budget to see him grow.”