Walking on water – with the right technology

Fabric manufactured by Setex-Textil from warp beams produced on a KARL MAYER warping machine are used to cover Christo’s Floating Piers

Making the seemingly impossible, possible, needs visionaries like Christo, the “wrapping” artist, and technical specialists like Setex-Textil GmbH. Working in conjunction with other experts, these two specialists in art paved the way for a new impressive art installation that was designed to last for sixteen days.

With their Floating Piers Project, they anchored a floating bridge at least 3 km long and 16 m wide on Lake Iseo in Lombardy, Italy. This temporary installation linked the two islands of Monte Isola and San Paola with the town of Sulzano on the mainland, and invited the public to come and walk on water.

The clever construction was made from a total of 200,000 floating plastic cubes to create the perfect experience of walking on water. The cubes were joined together to produce 100-m-long segments, and the sections were anchored to the bottom of the lake by concrete blocks weighing 5.5 t. The floating construction was then covered with fabric to give the functional work of art real visual impact. The textile covered the deep blue surface of the lake like a dahlia-yellow-coloured ribbon, which changed colour depending on how the light impinged on it.

To produce the fabric required, Christo worked with a long-term partner, Setex-Textil GmbH. This textile company, which is based in Münsterland, manufactured the 100,000 m2 of fabric for the Floating Piers from polyamide 6.6, and produced the warp beams for the fabric on a KARL MAYER sectional warping machine.

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