The Floating Piers
A Living, Breathing Masterpiece

Walking along the Floating Piers, the newest realized project of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, you feel the energy – a pulse – that has brought this project to life in just 22 months.



Written by Ani Tzenkova



here are few living artists that remain as unadulterated, while continuing to evolve and inspire the world through their work, as Christo. Despite losing his muse and other half, Jeane-Claude, Christo and his tireless team have managed to bring another miracle to life. Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized 22 of their 59 conceived projects. On June 18th, Christo unveiled his 23rd project which was completed in just 22 months from start to finish – and is the first to be opened without Jeanne-Claude by his side.


“Construction on Lago d’Iseo,” Christo says, “was as challenging as ‘building a highway.”
Despite the record-breaking time it took to bring this project to life, overcoming the challenges was no smaller a feat than on any of the previous projects.

Christo currently has two other projects in development, with varying degrees of progress. Over The River, a project with plans to suspend 5.9 miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River river in south-central Colorado, has been in development for over 26 years. Mustaba, a project for Abu Dhabi which was conceived in 1977, will be the largest sculpture in the world. Once completed, it will be built using 410,000 multi-colored barrels to form a mosaic of bright sparkling colors, echoing Islamic architecture.


Over the River (Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado)
Drawing, 2010

“Construction on Lago d’Iseo,” Christo says, "was as challenging as building a highway."

The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates)
Drawing, 2007


Neither of these projects’ timelines seemed promising enough for Christo so in early 2014, at 79 years old, he expressed his desire to realize a new project – and quickly. After discussing various possibilities with his team, they agreed upon The Floating Piers, a project that had been proposed at two locations in the past but was never realized. In the spring and summer of 2014, Christo, Vladimir Yavachev – Operations Director, Wolfgang Volz – Project Manager, and Josy Kraft – Registrar/Curator, scouted the lakes of Northern Italy. Christo liked Lake Iseo best for the project.

The project was unveiled in the early hours of the morning of June 18th. Hundreds of people have come from all over the world to work on the project and while many are currently on the project site, I sit in my hotel room trying to wrap my head and words around the energy that surrounds this production. Despite the level of stress that is to be expected with a project that is projected to have half a million visitors over the course of 16 days, there is an indescribable spirit of positivity that fills the grounds. There is no doubt that the energy can be attributed to Christo, who has the spirit a child in his own candy store at any given moment, but also to the strength and togetherness of the entire team. Everyone involved is teeming with pride and gratitude to be part of this monumental moment in art history.


With all of the final touches having been made, ready to open it’s arms to the public, Christo exclaimed, “Look! It’s actually breathing.” – and the visitors walking along this masterpiece have brought it to life.

“Look! It’s actually breathing,” Christo exclaimed.

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By Published on Jun 19 2016
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