The Sculpture Coralarium: The world's first semi-submerged tidal art gallery
Artist and environmental sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has just completed his most remarkable work to date, a semi-submerged tidal gallery exhibiting a number of artworks designed to evolve over time as they are colonized by algae and weathered by the environment.
The installation is situated in a large coral lagoon on the island resort of Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi, in the Maldives. To reach this extraordinary structure visitors must snorkel or swim around 500 ft (150 m) following an underwater coral pavement that is sea-scaped with planted corals.
The structure itself is a 20-ft-tall (6 m) stainless steel cube weighing about 200 tons, with the median tide sitting around 10 ft (3 m) up the facade. The building is accessed via a submerged staircase that arises above the water line to a dry elevated viewing platform.
The entire installation is designed to operate across three tiers, with some sculptures sitting on top of the cube, and others sitting well below the water line.
"It exists in three different elements," says Taylor, explaining the work's multifaceted approach. "A set of sculptures that interact with the sky and the atmosphere. There's a set of works that are in the tidal area. They live both above the water and below the water. And then there a set of submerged works. The idea is that it's about taking all the elements of our planet and showing that everything is connected."
The sculptural works displayed within the Coralarium are all mostly constructed from life casts of real people, but the final results have been hybridized, incorporating an assortment of organic structures to symbolize the connection humans have with the natural environment.
This unique and ambitious project took around nine months to develop and the complex structural formation utilized high-grade marine stainless steel and pH-neutral cement. The cube's walls reference coral patterns while also being engineered to allow currents and marine life to pass through it.
If you can afford the trip to this luxury resort in the Maldives the Sculpture Coralarium is open now to visitors through tours led by marine biologists at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi.
Take a closer look at the making of this structure in the video below or through photos in our gallery.