Home Magazine A movie on the yellow-orange Floating Piers by Christo

How could someone produce a 3-kilometre floating walkway? How did such an ambitious idea come up? If the person who thought about it and, after more than 40 years, managed to realize it, is someone like Christo… well, then it is not a utopia, but a work of art!

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The movie 'Christo - Walking on water' by Andrey Paounov, narrates, into its more vivid details, the entire process that was behind the development and engineering of The Floating Piers, which opened to the public in June 2016 on Lake Iseo, Italy. It is not so simple to tell the procedure of an event of such a payload: the “Floating Piers” was a contemporary art operation that cost years and years of thinking, germination, asking, creating, fundraising and hard work made by a very numerous team. 


Christo - Walking on water by Andrey Paounov, movie frame.


The works of art of Christo and his wife Jeanne Claude - who passed away 11 years before him, in 2009 - are always site-specific, in a precise venue or landscape, unique and never repeated.  The “Floating Piers” lasted 16 days in which the long walkway was crossed by the public. This intense and very well made documentary was released in movie theatres in 2019 from Italy to Europe, to the US. The movie director shot through his camera some very important moments, and other stolen ones that depict Christos energy and persistence to go on, to overcome all the obstacles – there were many! – with the only aim to perceive his goal. 

Discover more about Javacheff Christo on Kooness:


Javacheff Christo, Curtains for La Rotonda (project for La Rotonda, via Enrico Besana-Milano).Work detail


There had been days of climate change on the Lake: lots of rain, wind, sun and chaos that reduced the workload, making the situation more and more difficult… but at the end, this amazing, huge Pier was finally created and photographed by hundreds of thousands of people. Everyone wanted to live the experience of walking on water. The film is very accurate and has many impacting images: long views from the top of this orange stretch creating a Pier, shots of the panorama of the city and of the lake. As well as, beautiful shots of the entire process of posing the 220 thousand plastic cubes assembled by huge screws, everything covered up by a yellow-orange, never-ending, fabric. 


Christo Walking on water, the movie by Andrey Paounov, movie frame.


Christo - Walking on water by Andrey Paounov, movie frame.


Today that colour represents “Christo”: it has sedimented into our memory. Christo was planning this big idea together with Jean-Claude since the 70s. “All our projects are works of art. And all of them are useless. They exist just because me and Jeanne-Claude liked to watch them and realized them”. This is Christo incipit at the beginning of a presentation in New York, right before starting to work on this project in Italy. “You will literally walk for 3 kilometres on water”, he said. And he did. We are going to miss the Pier, and, most of all, Christos’ ideas. 

Cover image: Christo - Walking on water by Andrey Paounov, movie frame.

Written by Rossella Farinotti

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