Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor

Translation: It’s half underwater.

By Marisa Spyker

As the pioneer of underwater sculpture, Jason deCaires Taylor has already amassed an impressive list of firsts, from designing the largest subaquatic museum off the coast of Cancun to building the world’s largest underwater statue—a 60-ton, 18-foot-tall statue of a young Bahamian girl.

And, with his latest project, he’s managed to break new ground (or, in this case, water) yet again. The Coralarium, a new exhibit off the coast of the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort, is being hailed as the world’s first intertidal art gallery—a space that can be experienced above the water, at the waterline, and below the water’s surface.

Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor
Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor

To access the unique art gallery, guests must swim out from the resort’s pool along a path seascaped with underwater poplar trees and endemic planted coral. A submerged staircase leads up to the 20-foot-tall stainless steel building, porous to allow water and sealife to flow through. Once inside, guests can peruse the nearly 30 sculptures—most partially submerged depending on the tides—from a dry viewing platform or by diving or snorkeling around them.

Related: The Top 10 Exotic Beach Destinations:

Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor

Like many of deCaires Taylor’s underwater works, the sculptures aren’t just there for looks; they also serve as habitats for marine life. (Coral is also planted on the gallery floor to encourage reef growth.) And, on a deeper level, the installation aims to address both the threat of climate change and a system where humans and the environment can coexist in harmony.

“It’s about taking all the different elements of our planet and showing that everything is connected,” deCaires Taylor said. “We’re all interdependent and that’s a fundamental aspect of the installation.”

Anyone else adding a visit to this amazing museum to their bucket lists? According to the Fairmont Maldives website, access to the Coralarium is available through small-group guided tours with the resort’s resident marine biologists. See more photos of the museum below:

Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor
Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor
Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor
Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor