Cozying up to the Coastline: The Floating Piers By Eddy O’Toole

Updated: Oct 20, 2018

Surely most people are familiar with the biblical miracle of Jesus walking on water. But can artists walk on water? Unfortunately, they cannot, but Bulgarian artist Christo Javacheff has given people the opportunity to feel a bit celestial on the golden path of his Floating Piers installation.

Christo, along with his wife the late Jeanne-Claude, are notorious for their large-scale fabric installations. The idea for this project was first conceived in 1970 by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which had finally been realized in the summer of 2016. The couple had intentions of bringing joy and beauty to the public through the experience of this installation, which was funded entirely by Christo and accessible to everyone, free of charge.

In plan view, the 3-kilometer long path of satin saffron sat atop of Lake Iseo, connecting the island of San Paolo to Monte Isola and onto Sulzano in Italy. A base of 220,000 polyethylene cubes gave the walkways buoyancy, while 200 anchors secured it in place. An additional 2.5 kilometers of walkway meandered through the streets of both villages.

Construction of the design spanned from January to June 2016, only to be open for a total of 16 days from June 18th until July 3rd. Although the walkway gives the user an exhilarating first hand experience walking across the lake, there’s an added thrill due to the walkway’s lack of rails and guarding between the path and water.

As artists and architects, our roles as designers is to question our reality, and occasionally rebel against the status quo. A floating yellow path moving to the lake’s current with people acting as passengers opens the discussion of how we want to navigate through our spaces, or how to connect regions with a single concept. More on the floating piers can be found at Christo and Jeanne Claude and Dezeen.

Photos courtesy of Wolfgang Volz and André Grossmann via

#design #christoandjeannecladue #temporaryart