As his first solo work after the death of his wife, Jeanne-Claude, Christo has installed The Floating Piers, a floating dock covered with yellow fabric in Lake Iseo, which is about 100 kilometers east of Milan. As Wired reports, it is something of an engineering marvel. Through July 3, visitors can view it from the mountains surrounding the lake, and they can walk on the work from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo. In less than a week since its opening, the work has received 275,000 visitors, which is causing some concern about the stability of the floating material, as Philippe Ridet reports (On se bouscule (trop) sur les pontons de Christo, June 23) for Le Monde (my translation):
The expectation of 500,000 visitors through July 3, when the work will be taken down, will be easily surpassed. As a result, the pontoons -- 200,000 polyethylene cubes held together by 200,000 giant screws -- are wearing down much faster than Christo had thought, even if they are limited to supporting no more than 11,000 people at the same time. The security of people walking on them is maintained by 150 people on the passwalks at all times, as well as 30 master swimmers floating in the water. [...]The surrounding areas are also feeling the effects of the success of the art work with visitors. The town of Brescia, from which the trains to Sulzana depart, saw a pile-up of 3,000 people on Wednesday because there were not enough train cars to move them. Some 400 of these stranded people took ill due to the extreme heat that has settled over northern Italy. The regional prefect has decided to halt train service to limit the crowding around the lake.
Access to the work will now be closed to the public from midnight until 6 am, to allow the little villages serving as departure and arrival points for the piers to clean up after the hordes of visitors, as well as to reset and rearrange the pontoons.