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The Kid Should See This

The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Fly high above Italy’s Lake Iseo for the opening day of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Floating Piers installation. On June 18th, 2016, tourists and locals walked across 7,503 deep saffron-colored panels that wrap around 220,000 buoyant polyethylene cubes. The walkways connect two small islands to the mainland. Tyler MacNiven filmed the event from above. From The New York Times:

Walking on the floating pier, as I discovered, is akin to being on a lightly rocking boat, without feeling wary about suddenly toppling over should a strong wave arrive. Shoes are optional, and it’s probably worth taking them off, at least for a moment, to feel the fabric’s texture. (There is a layer of felt beneath the saffron cover.) When wet, the walkway is a little squishy; when sunny, it should feel warm to the toes…

Getting the walkway to both gently undulate and remain securely affixed to the uneven lake bottom was a feat that has occupied engineers, construction companies, French deep-sea divers and even a team of Bulgarian athletes drafted over the past two years…

The project, he said, “is all this” — the piers, the lake, the mountains, “with the sun, the rain, the wind, it’s part of the physicality of the project, you have to live it.”

Fueled by a 46 year old idea and $17 million dollars, the project took 700 workers 22 months to build. It’s estimated that 40,000 people will traverse the piers for free every day for sixteen days before it’s recycled and repurposed.

“The important part of this project is the temporary part, the nomadic quality,” Christo said. “The work needs to be gone, because I do not own the work, no one does. This is why it is free.”

Fly even higher: See The Floating Piers from space.

Related installations to explore: Red PaperBridge, Tape Paris, Beam Drop Inhotim, and Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s ADA.

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