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Underwater sculpture park will highlight the dangers of climate change

BlueLab Preservation Society has revealed plans for The ReefLine, a new seven mile underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail and artificial reef located off Miami Beach’s shoreline. 

The large-scale environmental public art project has been conceived by cultural placemaker Ximena Caminos who will serve as the project’s artistic director. The ReefLine’s masterplan will be designed by architect Shohei Shigematsu/OMA in close consultation with a team of expert marine biologists, researchers, architects and coastal engineers. The ReefLine will provide a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity and enhancing coastal resilience.

 Featuring environmentally-functioning artworks by major international artists and designers, The ReefLine will be completed in several phases, with the first mile slated to open December 2021.       

For the masterplan, OMA has designed a geometric, concrete modular unit that will be deployed and stacked from South Beach to the north, following the topography of the seabed. The living breakwater is the connective tissue for the overall masterplan and will be punctuated by a series of site-specific installations. 

The first phase of the ReefLine will open with permanent installations by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich and architect Shohei Shigematsu, whose sculpture will explore the nature of weightlessness underwater. Like the circular formation of the atoll, a series of sinuous spiral stairs create a three-dimensional structure reminiscent of marine life. The organic form will provide layered zones for coral reef growth and interstitial spaces for exploration. The stairs will rotate around a central forum for underwater gathering and activities.

The ReefLine was conceived by BlueLab Preservation Society and Coral Morphologic and will be developed in collaboration with the City of Miami Beach and researchers from University of Miami. The project received concept funding and support from the Knight Foundation’s Art Challenge Award 2019 and a Blavatnik Family Foundation grant, as well as endorsement from the XPRIZE Foundation.  

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