For two weeks this summer, the artist Christo will turn an Italian lake in the foothills of the Alps into his latest participatory art project, building long, temporary bridges of plastic to form walkways stretching several kilometers over the water.
The 80-year-old Christo has built a career with fantastical public art like his 2005 work “The Gates,” which covered 26 miles of walkways in New York's Central Park with thousands of overhanging structures draped in colorful fabric.
Now, he said he's going to use 200,000 blow molded polyethylene cubes to build 50-foot-wide bridges stretching 3 kilometers across northern Italy's Lake Iseo and cover them with shimmering yellow fabric for a piece of art dubbed “The Floating Piers.”
“Visitors will experience this work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo, which it encircles,” while the bridges “undulate with the movement of the waves as “The Floating Piers” rise just above the surface of the water,” according to a news release from Christo.
That's the artistic vision. Drawings on the project's website depict people walking just above water level across the lake, surrounded by mountain panoramas.
But realizing the vision involves a more practical side — and it seems that Christo has become a plastics manufacturer, of a sort.