It took the team two months to install the 25,000 square metres of recyclable blue-silver polypropylene fabric and the 3,000 metres of recyclable red polypropylene rope that envelop the monument.
A silver blue polypropylene set
These materials were not chosen at random, but by Christo himself, two years before, during several life-size tests. During these tests, Christo confirmed the colour and type of fabric and ropes, the amount of extra fabric to create the voluminous folds and the installation methods. In February 2020, Setex Textil in Germany started producing the fabric. 12,000 kilometres of yarn was woven into 25,000 square meters of fabric. Once the fabric was woven, it was sprayed with one kilogram of pulverized aluminium to give it its silvery blue colour. It was then sewn to form large panels, ready to be rolled onto tubes. The largest panels are 8 meters wide weighing one metric tonne each.
The fabric, "a skin on the building, inflated by the wind and animated by the sunlight" according to Christo's dream, will be recycled after the work has been dismantled.
A 60-year-old dream
Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude have had the idea of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe since 1961, 60 years ago.
A year later, a first photomontage was produced, but the project was deemed too ambitious to be carried out and was put aside. The artists then parcelled up a few prestigious monuments around the world, including the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris. In 2017, the project was reactivated and has been completed this year. The project was first postponed upon request of the Birds Protection League (LPO) in order to respect biodiversity and safeguard the kestrels falcons in the Arc de Triomphe during their nesting period. It was then postponed a second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped is entirely funded by the Estate of Christo V. Javacheff, through the sale of Christo's preparatory studies, drawings, and collages of the project as well as scale models, works from the 1950s and 1960s, and original lithographs on other subjects. It receives no public funding.