coralarium, world's first inter tidal art museum at fairmont madives sirru fen fushi by jason decaires taylor

coralarium, world's first inter tidal art museum at fairmont madives sirru fen fushi by jason decaires taylor

following designboom’s incredible trip and ‘studio visit’ to the sirru fen fushi island in the maldives, environmentalist and artist jason decaires taylor has officially completed the installation phase of his latest underwater art museum – the coralariumthe project is the island’s first coral regeneration project and comprises a stainless steel semi-submerged tidal gallery space that exhibits a series of sculptural artworks on the skyline, inter-tidal waterline and seabed.

a staircase submerged in water leads snorklers to the museum

image courtesy of jason decaires taylor



an artwork, ecological innovation and statement on the environment combined, the coralarium is in part an address of the one-degree rise in ocean temperature that is causing devastation to the coral. it features statues formed above ground that incorporate endemic environmental elements: some sculptures have tree trunks for limbs whilst others are embedded with the patterns of corals. elsewhere a series of children looking up towards the surface of the sea pose questions about rising sea levels.

sculptures made of marine-grade cement occupy the structure

image courtesy of jason decaires taylor



jason decaires taylor aims to create a direct pathway to the ocean utilizing the island resort’s long swimming pool to denote a starting point in which guests can explore the clear shallow waters of the sea. sea-scaped with underwater poplar trees and endemic planted corals it heads 100m through the shallows towards the underwater realm, a symbolic pathway to another world.

sculptures embedded with the patterns of corals peer above the surface of the water, a commentary on rising sea levels
image courtesy of jason decaires taylor



a fifty-meter snorkle brings guests to the cube-shaped structure, six-meter tall, with its front facade submerged up to median tide of three metres. its complex structural formation is based on natural coral structures and is porous to allow the tides, current and marine life to pass through it, whilst dissipating oceanic forces and encouraging nature to colonize and seek refuge.

designboom spent four incredible days in the water with jason decaires taylor in the maldives
see more info on the sculptures here
image © designboom

the stainless steel structure was constructed whilst submerged in water

image courtesy of jason decaires taylor



assembled underwater, the construction sees the use of marine stainless steel which mirrors the surrounding blues. the choice of materials means that over time the museum will take on the patina of the sea as well as becoming a host to colonizing algae.

water villas at fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi



situated in the center of the largest developed coral lagoon in the maldives, the project serves as an ever-changing attraction on one of its most exclusive islands. designed by hirsh bedner associates, the fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi is the island’s sole hotel and first-class resort comprising 120 beachside villas and overwater bungalows, each with a private pool.

the island’s arrival jetty

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi



the villas range from 2,500 to nearly 6,000 square feet, all featuring white-washed décor and equipped with lush indoor-outdoor bathrooms that look out onto the indian ocean, some with vast tubs made of burnished copper. beyond actually being on an islandcarved wooden furnishings, floral motifs, crochet rugs and hanging lanterns decorate each abode and its amenities, lending the resort its island-style character.

the first-class resort comprises 120 beachside villas and overwater bungalows

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi



the property is the first to bring something different to the indian ocean, committed to sustainable tourism and improving the wellbeing of the local community and ecosystem. the resort and its previously untouched location make its crystal-clear waters a popular habitat for manta rays, turtles, large pods of bottlenose dolphins and spinner dolphins. as well as offering guests the chance to plant their own coconut tree, they can participate in coral restoration efforts and turtle release programs, all whilst drinking desalinated water served in reusable bottles.

guest rooms feature indoor-outdoor bathrooms with burnished copper bathroom fittings

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi



the main attraction however, is of course the azure sea where snorkling tours of the reef coincide with the unique coralarium. access to the coralarium will be through guided tours in small groups lead by the resort’s resident marine biologists several times a day.


‘as the location for the maldives’ first underwater art installation we hope to raise awareness that encourages long-term reef protection and sustainable tourism’says denis dupart, general manager of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi.

overwater bungalow decking

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi

beachside villa bedroom interior

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi

the resort’s beach bar

image courtesy of fairmont maldives sirru fen fushi

macramé detailing


about fairmont sirru fushi


fairmont maldives, sirru fen fushi is a 120 luxury all-villa resort that offers exactly as its name translates – secret water island. the island covers approximately 160,000 sqm (16 hectares) of land and features one of the largest lagoons in the maldives, while the resort includes a 200-metre long swimming pool which traverses the length of the island, reinvigorating destination spa and an intricate open air bamboo bar created by balinese artisans who did not use any man-made materials in the structure.


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