World’s first coralarium opens in the Maldives
THIS NEW AQUATIC attraction at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is bound to pique your interest.
For starters, it’s an art installation but with a twist – it’s underwater, in the world’s first semi-submerged art gallery.
Created by underwater naturalist and British artist James deCaires Taylor, the Coralarium pays homage to sea life and the coral house reef surrounding the luxury resort.
Built in a large, developed coral lagoon, it requires guests to traverse about 150 meters of shallow water, seascaped with underwater poplars and endemic corals.
The semi-submerged art installation is position as such so both human and marine friends can interact with it at the surface as well as the seabed.
Taylor said his collaboration with Fairmont aims to showcase the “fragile beauty” of the Maldives and our ocean as a whole.
“Over the years, I have realized that the really humbling thing about what we do is that once we submerge the sculptures – they’re not ours anymore. As soon as we sink them, they belong to the sea and nature takes over,” Travel Daily Media quoted Taylor as saying.
“The Coralarium is a place of preservation, conservation, and education. Together with the resort, we hope to raise awareness for the protection of Maldivian coral reefs. I want to see a better future for the ocean, for people to see it as a delicate place, worthy of our protection.”
An extension of Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, it leads from the 200-meter infinity pool at the center of the island.
It comprises of a six-meter-tall cube-shaped stainless steel tidal building that was designed based on the local natural coral structure and is porous to allow tidal water and marine life to pass through.
Within the structural formation that has been engineered to dissipate oceanic forces are several sculptures of various heights that merge human, plant, and coral shapes based on endemic species of the island and its surrounding reefs.
Additional sculptures can be seen sitting and standing atop the cube’s roof, high above the water line.
In the evening, an integrated light system illuminates the museum and attracts marine life.
There’s an underwater pathway which allows guests to view and engage with the underwater wonders.
“Taylor’s art focuses on the natural beauty of the location, creating an extraordinary linkage between our resort and the destination to encourage sustainable tourism,” AccorHotels Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia and the Maldives chief operation officer Patrick Basset said.
“This artwork provides a portal for our guests to engage with the area’s fabled natural wonders while enjoying the renowned Fairmont hospitality.”
Taylor was also responsible for the hauntingly beautiful Insta-famous underwater sculpture in Gili Meno, Indonesia.
Interested in paying the Coralarium a visit? Small group tours in led by the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort’s resident marine biologists are available several times a day.
For more information, visit the resort’s website.