The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne Claude

June 8, 2020Niry Fidelis
The Floating Piers

For a while I have wanted to write about my experience at the floating piers and that moment has ​now ​arrived ​ ​after hearing the sad news of Christo Vladimirov Javacheff​’s passing. It is such a big los​s​ in the ​w​​orld of art.

Beauty, science and art will always triumph. Christo Vladimirov Javacheff

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, a Bulgarian born (13 June 1935) artist known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects that played off of their environment in cities across the world, died at 84 last Sunday (31 May 2020)​,​ at his home in New York City.

He and his wife Jeanne-Claude awed the world for decades with legendary environmental installation​s​.

Alessandro and I were blessed to see one of those: The floating piers in Iseo Lake​,​ Italy. It ​was​ ​really ​a​ ​unique experience that we will never forget. ​It was ​a once in a lifetime​ experience​.

The Floating Piers
Sulzano Railway Station

The Floating Piers was ​an art installation of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, measuring 52 feet wide and ​three-kilometres long. It created a walkway which connected the village of Sulzano to the small island of Monte Isola on Lake Iseo​. It consisted​ of​100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric​, ​ which was ​carried by a modular floating dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes.

The installation was floating approximately one foot above the water​,​ with its edges sloping to the side, allowing any water to run off into the lake.

For 16 days, from 18th June to 3rd July 2016, Italy’s Lake Iseo showcased this amazing art installation which left people speechless. ​From the first day it was​ a huge success​.​

We went there on 23rd of June 2016, and thankfully the weather was on our ​side​​ that morning. We ​felt like​ ​they ​hadn’t​ ​​expected​ such a big crowd like that because some arrangements were still ​in​ progress but overall ​it ​was well organized.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff​​

I ​couldn’t​​’t stop marvelling how he ​was​ able to conceive such a great idea which was ​both ​poetic and relaxing at the same time. The​ floating piers were just amazing.

The installation had no admission cost and was accessible to visitors 24/7​, ​w​​eather permitting. ​The Floating Piers​ are an extension of the street and belong to everyone,” said Christo in a statement. And he suggested walking on it barefoot. Of course we did so. When the water underneath our feet gently moved up and down or right and left we ​felt like we were​ walking on water.

The Floating Piers

We saw Christo that day on board a watercraft​. He was sailing ​​​L​​ake Iseo and watching the countless people walking on his artwork and applauding. Sadly my camera was not ​​​fast enough to​ take a picture of him.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff​​

Now, despite our beautiful experience at the floating piers, I don’t want to fail to write that this work had a negative effect on nature and​ the​ enviro​n​ment. It generated tons and tons of CO2 for the production of plastic materials, not to mention​ the transport by helicopters.

I also read on the web that some cement was deposited on the bottom​of the lake ​for the anchors. This threw me for a ​bit of a loop but​ I ​still recommend​ that​ you​ to​ visit Christo Vladimirov Javacheff​​ and his wife Jeanne-Claude​’s​ official web page to learn more about their art installations around the ​​​world. Such​ art​​-work​s​ must be known and remembered.

Iseo Lake

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