Walking on golden water — Christo's magical 'Floating Piers'

The World
A woman walks on the installation "The Floating Piers" by Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev known as Christo, on Lake Iseo, northern Italy.

A woman walks on the installation "The Floating Piers" by Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev known as Christo, on Lake Iseo, northern Italy.

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

You don't need a ticket to experience "The Floating Piers," you just need good weather and a little sense of adventure.

The latest project from Christo, an 81-year-old Bulgarian-born American artist, includes 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes that juts out into Italy’s Lake Iseo for nearly two miles.

The modular docking system, covered by more that 62 square miles of padding and fabric, is like walking on a "lightly rocking boat without feeling wary about suddenly toppling over should a strong wave arrive," as Elisabetta Povoledo writes for the New York Times.

According to Povoledo, shoes are optional.

Christo watches a diver hooking a fabric panel to the side of a floating pier.

Christo watches a diver hooking a fabric panel to the side of a floating pier.

Credit:

Wolfgang Volz © Christo

From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl the dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.

From the evening of June 15 to the evening of June 17, teams unfurl the dahlia-yellow fabric on the piers and streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.

Credit:

Wolfgang Volz © Christo

Christo conceived of "The Floating Piers" along with his wife Jeanne-Claude, in 1970. Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, but their artistic vision now shimmers golden in Italy. The pair last captured the public's imagination when they installed 7,500 saffron-paneled gates in New York City's Central Park in 2005.

Visitors to "The Floating Piers" will be able to walk out to the small island of San Paolo. The golden path also extends through the pedestrian walkways in the towns of Sulzano, on the mainland, and Peschiera Maraglio, on Monte Isola, an islet in the lake. Since opening on June 18, the installation has been so popular that officials are now closing "The Floating Piers" from midnight to 6 a.m. for cleaning and repairs.

“Those who experience 'The Floating Piers' will feel like they are walking on water — or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the 16 days.”