The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
In 1970, Bulgarian-born sculptor Christo conceptualized Floating Piers with his wife and longtime creative partner, Jeanne-Claude. Together, they imagined a public sculpture which allowed people to walk on water, using their pioneering method of imposing temporary, cloth-based installations that reframe landscapes.
In 2016, after Jeanne-Claude’s death, Christo finally realized Floating Piers, with Italy’s Lake Iseo as the site. For 16 days, Christo mounted 220,000 polyethylene cubes in Lake Iseo and covered them in a golden yellow fabric, creating a series of floating walkways that connected the island of San Paolo with nearby Suzano and Monte Isola. The walkways spanned three kilometers and attracted over a million visitors during the short installation. Though the piece itself no longer exists—Floating Piers was dismantled, and all of its parts recycled—some of Christo’s luminous sketches and golden fabric swatches still exist for collectors.