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Christo's 'Floating Piers' artwork lets people walk across a lake in Italy

Walking on water isn't just for religious deities anymore.

Anyone who can make it to Lake Iseo in northern Italy in the next three weeks can now experience the feeling thanks to a spectacular art installation called "The Floating Piers."

Reuters
A woman walked on the installation "The Floating Piers" by Bulgarian-born artist Christo on Lake Iseo in northern Italy.

The nearly 2-mile walkway across the lake from the mainland town of Sulzano to the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo was originally conceived in 1970 by the Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev, 81, and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, according to the project's website.

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Funded through the sale of Christo's artworks, "The Floating Piers" was unveiled Thursday at Lake Iseo, which is 62 miles north of Milan. It will be open to the public through July 3, weather permitting.

Reuters
The magical walkways were created by Christo from an idea he first conceived with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, in 1970.

It took divers anchoring together 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes covered by 1,076,391 square feet of yellow fabric to create the "piers," which are 52 feet wide and 14 inches high.

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The walkways undulate to the movement of the water as people move across them, and volunteers are present for safety reasons in case anyone falls in the water.

Reuters
"The Floating Piers" project allows members of the public to walk from the mainland across an Italian lake to a pair of islands that usually are only accessible by boat.
Reuters
"The Floating Piers" will be open until July 3, and then all the materials will be recycled.

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

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The walkways are accessible 24 hours a day to the public and there is no charge, and tickets or reservations aren't required.

"The Floating Piers" came together in just under two years, compared to Christo's 2005 project known as "The Gates," an installation in New York City's Central Park that took 26 years to create.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Wolfgang Volz/Christo, Reuters

    The installation 'The Floating Piers' in Italy.

    'The Floating Piers' of Christo and Jeanne-Claude

    See photos of the conception and completion of "The Floating Piers" by artist Christo on Lake Iseo in northern Italy.

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    Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for "The Floating Piers." Italy’s Lake Iseo is re-imagined with a new art project. "The Floating Piers" consist of 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes floating on the surface of the water. Visitors will be able to feel like they are walking on water.

    Wolfgang Volz
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    "The Floating Piers" was initially drawn in 2015 in two parts.

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    Artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev presented his monumental installation "The Floating Piers" he created with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, on June 16, 2016 during a press conference at Iseo in northern Italy. 

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    At a factory in Fondotoce at Lago Magiore, 200,000 high-density polyethylene cubes are manufactured over a period of eight months before delivered to the project's storage in Montecolino, January 2016.

    Wolfgang Volz
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    The felt that will cover the cubes underneath the yellow fabric is transported from Montecolino to San Paolo island by Elimast Helicopter Service, May 2016.

    Wolfgang Volz
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    Frames are attached underneath the cubes to the dead weight anchors on the lake bed with rope made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, covered with a polyester protective layer and with a breaking load of 44,000 pounds, April 2016.

    Wolfgang Volz
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    Workers push one of the frames underneath a floating element before connecting it with screws, April 2016.

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    Workers start to encircle the island of San Paolo with the first floating elements, April 2016.

    Wolfgang Volz
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    Floating elements connect the island of San Paolo with the island of Monte Isola on May 2016, Some 200,000 floating cubes create a nearly 2-mile runway connecting the village of Sulzano to the small island of Monte Isola on the Iseo Lake for a 16-day outdoor installation.

    AFP - Getty Images
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    Christo gestured during an interview with the AP about his installation "The Floating Piers."

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    A partial view of the monumental installation "The Floating Piers."

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  • Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev known as Christo stand on his installation 'The Floating Piers' , on the Lake Iseo

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    Christo stands on his installation.

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    A part of the installation "The Floating Piers."

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    The installation from a distance

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    A different view of the installation.

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    A woman walks on the installation.

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    A woman took pictures of the installation.

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    Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev known as Christo stands on his installation 'The Floating Piers', on the Lake Iseo -

    "The Floating Piers" was first conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude together in 1970. It is Christo’s first large-scale project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized "The Gates" in 2005, and since Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, "The Floating Piers" is funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the 16-day exhibition, all components will be removed and industrially recycled.

    Reuters

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