The three-kilometer orange floating waterway constructed in Lake Iseo, a northern Italian lake, by artist Christo was closed after attracting over 1.2 million visitors: twice the expected figure. The waterway was constructed of 200,000 floating cubes covered in yellow fabric and was the first major installation created by the lauded artist in over 10 years.
The Floating Piers, 16 meters wide and around 35 centimeters high, reinterpreted Lake Iseo’s functionality, turning the body of water into a public space which emulated the feeling of walking on water. The concept of water as public space is a trending one; the main attraction at this year’s European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Zurich is a floating public square.
The floating waterway was open for the public for 16 days for free, attracting an average of 100,000 people per day who would walk between two lake islands. Constructing the bright orange waterway cost over EUR €15 million (US $16.7 million).
“For sixteen days – June 18 through July 3, 2016 – Italy’s Lake Iseo was reimagined,” the project’s official website reads. “100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular floating dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes, undulated with the movement of the waves as The Floating Piers rose just above the surface of the water.”
“This project was started from the early 70s, actually 1970, when we tried to make people walk on the water,” the 81-year-old artist told AJ+. Christo funded the installation from his own money.
The larger-than-anticipated crowd forced organizers to close some areas of the waterway and to warn visitors of long waiting hours in the heat.
“Each project is like a slice of our lives and something that I will never forget … the Lake’s water, the landscape, and the communities around it have all been part of The Floating Piers. An important part of this project is the temporary part, it has a nomadic quality—this is why after 16 days it is gone,” Christo says.