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Wrapping of Arc de Triomphe begins in Christo tribute

Workers begin the week-long process of wrapping the monument in silver-blue fabric

A first giant sheet of fabric was draped down the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday as work started to wrap the monument in a tribute to late artist Christo.

After weeks of preparations, the final stage of the art installation has begun, with a silver-blue sheet of recyclable polypropylene unfurled from the top of the imposing war memorial at the top of the Champs-Elysees.

He had dreamed of sheathing the 50-metre-high monument since renting a nearby apartment in the 1960s.

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The completion of his vision — and that of his co-designer and wife, Jeanne-Claude — has been overseen by his nephew Vladimir Javacheff in coordination with the Pompidou museum and French authorities.

It is due to be completed on Saturday, after which the protective barriers will be removed and the public allowed to get up close to the transformed monument.

– ‘A living object’ –

Architect Carlo Ratti, a friend of Christo’s, wrote an editorial in Le Monde this weekend saying it was wrong to waste so much fabric at a time when the fashion industry is responsible for such high levels of carbon emissions.

“People are going to want to touch the Arc de Triomphe,” he said.

As well as the polypropylene fabric, the project will use 3,000 metres of red rope, all of which can be recycled.

He died of natural causes at his home in New York in May last year.

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