By Charlotte Alter
June 17, 2016

The latest project from Bulgarian-American landscape artist Christo is a golden walkway across a lake, linking two Italian islands to the mainland.

The $16.8 million project, called ‘Floating Piers,’ is the first outdoor installation since the golden gates in Central Park in 2005, which he installed with his late wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude. ‘Floating Piers’ consists of floating walkways covered with golden fabric connecting two islands in Lake Iseo, in northern Italy, to one another and to the mainland. The walkways span three kilometers across the water, and is expected to draw up to 40,000 visitors a day.

A woman walks on the installation 'The Floating Piers' by Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev known as Christo, on the Lake Iseo, northern Italy on June 16, 2016.
Stefano Rellandini—Reuters

Christo describes the 220,000 high-density polyethylene floating cubes that make up the 16-meter wide pathway as “actually breathing.” The pathways link the island of San Paolo, the islet of Peschiera Maraglio, and the mainland town of Sulzano, in a nearly two-mile walk. “It’s really a physical thing, you need to be there, walking it, on the streets, here. And it’s demanding,” Christo said, according to the New York Times, adding that the landscape and climate are both a crucial to the project. “The sun, the rain, the wind, it’s part of the physicality of the project, you have to live it.”

The project runs from Saturday through July 3, and will then be dismantled and sold. “The work needs to be gone, because I do not own the work, no one does.,” he said. “This is why it is free.”

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