Utilizing trains, plans, automobiles and boats to get to Lake Iseo in Northern Italy Tom, on assignment for LBAM, to photograph The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne-Claude their first large installation since The Gates in NYC. In 2005. Tom spent 10-days photographing The Gates in New York City.
Of various the lakes in Northern Italy he visited, Christo selected Lake Iseo for its intense beauty and natural character. The Lake is 62 miles east of Milan and 125 miles north of Venice.
Unlike many of his earlier art project, Christo was embraced by the Italian officials, local mayors and citizens for the project and as such this art project was initiated and installed in record time. Engineers and fabricators were hired and many full-scale tests were conducted over the winter prior to the final exhibit.
The Floating Piers was on exhibit for 16 days from June 18 to July 3rd – the project was entirely funded through the sale of Christo’s original works of art and after the 16-day exhibition all the components will be removed and recycled
The project’s 3-kilometer of floating piers across Lake Iseo were constructed of 220,000 specially designed and produced of high density polyethylene cubes and pins. Production of the floating pier system started in early August 2015, upon completion late last year all the components were moved into their final designed location and were secured to the lake bed with 190 concrete and steel anchors to depths of 90 meters.
The floating piers along with the over 1.5 kilometers of pedestrian walkways, docks and courtyards (totaling almost 3 miles) were covered with over 100,000 meters of nylon polyamide “dahlia yellow” fabric produced by Setrex in Graven Germany (who also produced the fabric for earlier projects Wrapped Reichstag and The Gates Project).
The Christo crew covered the floating piers and pedestrian walkways with thick white felt followed by the yellow fabric which was placed by helicopters on June 15th to the evening of June 17th – working through the night the teams began unfurling, sewing and hooking the dahlia-yellow fabric in time for the opening on June 18th.
The piers are 18 meters wide (about 59 feet) and approximately 35 centimeters high (14 inches) with sloping sides. The interaction of light, water, fabric and people created the experience. The reaction with the lake and towns and natural surroundings was unlike anything that can be either expressed or experienced elsewhere nor most likely ever again. Those that made the journey will remember this project. As Tom flew home to Laguna he remembers experiencing a lasting smile and floating sensations or as often referred to as sea legs when sailors return to land.
On the morning of his third day, Tom chartered an Italian helicopter to capture the essence of The Floating Piers. The interaction of perspective, light and water with the yellow fabric brought the scene to life.
The art work connected the town of Sulzano on the mainland to Peschiera Managlio on Monte Isola, Peschiera Managlio to San Paolo Island and then San Paolo to Sensole on Monte Isola
San Paolo Island is owned by the Beretta family, Christo and his team approached the idea to the owners as a work of art and they agreed to the proposal.
Numerous forms of spontaneous artistic self-expression, created in celebration of The Floating Piers were experienced. Revelers and party goers from around the world experienced and interacted from 6am to midnight with this ultimate sensation of “walking on water.”