A seven-mile-long underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail, and artificial reef is coming to Miami Beach’s shoreline next year. The project is titled ReefLine and not only will it allow snorkelers to experience subaquatic artworks by Leandro Erlich, Ernesto Neto, and Agustina Woodgate, but the structure also serves as a commentary on the climate crisis and as a “living breakwater,” providing critical habitat for endangered reef organisms.
For the masterplan, OMA partner and Kanye West collaborator, Shohei Shigematsu has designed a geometric, concrete modular unit that can be deployed and stacked from South Beach to the north, following the topography of the sea bed. This will be punctuated by a series of site-specific installations.
“Many cities have artificial reefs,” Ximena Caminos, founder of BlueLab Preservation Society and the project’s artistic director, told Artnet News. “The secret ingredient here is the arts, but it’s crucial that this is artist-designed and scientist-informed.” The ambitious project sees artists, architects, scientists, preservationists, and city officials joining forces for a work of public art like no other. The sculpture park provides layered zones for coral reef growth and interstitial spaces for human and marine life exploration.
While simultaneously drawing in tourists, promoting biodiversity and coastal resilience, the ReefLine will showcase works that make a direct commentary on the current climate crisis. For example, Erlich’s project, Concrete Coral, will see sculptures of cars — among the worst culprits in global warming — litter the ocean floor. Last year, Caminos organized Erlich’s “traffic jam” of life-size sand sculptures of cars in Miami Beach.
The project will be completed in phases, with the first mile slated to open in December 2021—the first phase will open with permanent installations by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich and Shohei Shigematsu. Artists Ernesto Neto and Agustina Woodgate have been tapped for subsequent commissions.