A floating pontoon pier three kilometers long was built on an Italian lake by artist Christo Yavachev. Made up of 220,000 high-density cubes, a pier connects two small islands to the shores of Lake Iseo in Lombardy, about 100 km east of Milan. The project of the 80-year-old Bulgarian-born artist has been in the making since last November and is in its final stages. Despite the bright white color of the blocks, the 100,000-square-meter walkway will be completely covered in shimmery yellow fabric before opening to the public on June 18. The pier will remain open for a total of 16 days, until July 3, 2016. During this time, more than half a million visitors will pass through it.
Lake Iseo is a small natural pearl of Italy, surrounded by magnificent mountains and valleys of the regions of Brescia and Bergamo. Fed by the waters of the Oglio River, the lake of more than 65 square kilometers is home to the islets of Sao Paolo, Loreto and Monte Isola. The last island is located right in the middle of the lake and is the largest inhabited lake island in Europe.
The pier will start at the coast of Sulzano, lead to Monte Isola, and then to the island of Sao Paolo, completely surrounding it. To assemble the floating docks, the artist enlisted a team of athletes from his native Bulgaria and a group of divers to anchor them to concrete slabs at the bottom of the lake. To sew the yellow fabric, he invited German seamstresses and gave them specially made sewing machines. 150 volunteers and rescuers will be present at the piers around the clock and patrol the lake on special boats to ensure safety. The project cost of €15 million has been fully funded by the artist. The attraction will be absolutely free and visitors will not have to pay to enter the floating pier.
The floating jetty project was conceived as early as 1970 when Cristo and his wife Jean-Claude built a 2,000 meter long pontoon pier on La Plata Lake in Argentina. Plans for such structures in Tokyo Bay were later discussed, but were rejected due to security concerns.
Jean-Claude passed away in 2009, but Cristo continued to pursue their dream. In 2014 he chose Lake Iseo for its calm waters and suitable coastline against the backdrop of majestic Alpine foothills. Only a few weeks are left before the final implementation of the project.