PARIS – Several hundred square meters of recyclable fabric in bluish silver polypropylene, intended to undulate according to the elements, were unrolled this Sunday, September 12 on one side of the Arc de Triomphe, an operation launching the last straight line of the packaging of the Parisian monument.

From September 18 to October 3, the childhood dream of Christo (died in May 2020) and his wife Jeanne-Claude, will be realized: a major place of French commemorations, the Arc de Triomphe, 50 m high, will be fully transformed into a gigantic gift package, held in place by 3,000 m of red rope. In 1985, Christo had already packed the Pont-Neuf in Paris, spanning the Seine.

The rope access technicians continue on the façade facing avenue des #ChampsElysees ⤵️ # ChristoParispic.twitter.com / l6lC7Qrocv

After weeks of preparations, a team of 95 rope access technicians set out on Sunday morning from the top of the Arc de Triomphe to deploy a first roll of fabric on the avenue de Wagram side.

The packaging (25,000 m2 of fabric) will continue day and night to be ready on September 18, the day of the inauguration.

“Today is one of the most spectacular moments of the installation. The packaged Arc de Triomphe is beginning to come to life and come even closer to the vision of what was the dream of a lifetime for Christo and Jeanne-Claude ”, confided Vladimir Yavachev, nephew of the artist who oversees the project.

“On the morning of September 18, once we have finished arranging the ropes and making the final touches, the protective grids of the current site will be removed to allow the public to come, see and touch the site free of charge. work of art ”.

The packaging of the Arc de Triomphe “will be like a living object that will come to life in the wind and reflect the light. The folds will move, the surface of the monument will become sensual ”, explained Christo while presenting his final project, two years before his death.

The 95 rope access technicians of Réseau Jade are coordinating to accompany the descent of the canvas on the #ChampsElysees facade of the # ArcDeTriomphe! 👷👷‍♀️ pic.twitter.com/EPMPW4gCGf

As early as 1962, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had signed a photomontage with the Arc de Triomphe packaged, an idea that arose while looking at the monument from their first Parisian apartment, avenue Foch.

At a cost of 14 million euros, the project is entirely self-financed, without public subsidy, thanks to the sale of original works by Christo, preparatory drawings, souvenirs, models and lithographs.

On Saturday, in the daily Le Monde, the architect Carlo Ratti, one of Christo’s friends, however called in a forum to abandon “the aesthetic of high-waste packaging”.

Morning operation 🌞 The first canvas strips are deployed on the north facade of the # ArcDeTriomphe! Nearly 95 rope access technicians will intervene throughout the day # ChristoParispic.twitter.com / bKKLIhJsjW

“I suggest that we stop racing the Arc de Triomphe, for both environmental and intellectual reasons. From an environmental perspective, can we afford to waste 25,000 m2 of fabric wrapping a monument? The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, ”writes Carlo Ratti. Asked by AFP, Christo’s nephew refused to react.

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