The world's largest sculpture made from 410,000 multi-colored oil barrels is to rise high in the middle of the desert, under the Abu Dhabi sun. The 150-meter 'Mastaba' will be three times higher than Nelson’s Column in London.
It’s the brainchild of 74 year-old Bulgarian-born artist Christo who is best known for wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in fabric and covering the Pont Neuf in Paris.
He has denied that using barrels was to put the spotlight on the region's oil. According to Christo, the challenge was to create a sculpture "deeply rooted" in the tradition of Islamic architecture.
"When Louis XIV was building that kitschy castle at Versailles, the greatest architecture in the Middle East had incredible simplicity … and play with colors," Christo told the Observer.
The ‘oil-bearing’ superstructure will be erected 160 kilometers south of the United Arab Emirates capital. The emirate's rulers have reportedly approved a site close to the border with Oman.
The $340 million project is set to turn 'Mastaba' into a symbol of Abu Dhabi, the way the Eiffel Tower is key to Paris. Up to two million visitors are expected to descend on the desert to check out one of the world's most expensive landmarks annually. Its construction is estimated to take two and a half years.