The ReefLine will be a new 7-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. Led by Shohei Shigematsu, OMA will design the ReefLine’s masterplan as well as a distinct sculpture within it, collaborating with a team of expert marine biologists, researchers, architects and costal engineers.
The ReefLine will provide a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity and enhancing coastal resilience. For the masterplan, OMA 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. The living breakwater is the connective tissue for the overall masterplan and will be punctuated by a series of site-specific installations.
The project will be completed in phases, with the first mile slated to open December 2021—the first phase will open with permanent installations by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich (b. 1973) and Shohei Shigematsu/OMA. Artists Ernesto Neto (b. 1964, Brazil) and Agustina Woodgate (b. 1981, Argentina) have been tapped for subsequent commissions.
Erlich will create an underwater incarnation of his popular sand-sculpted “traffic jam”, which was commissioned by the City of Miami Beach during Art Week Miami Beach 2019. Titled Concrete Coral, the site-specific installation will reframe cars and trucks—a symbol of the emissions that endanger our planet—as new vehicles for environmental change.
OMA/Shigematsu’s sculpture explores the nature of weightlessness underwater. The stair, a rudimentary architecture element suggestive of directionality and movement, is taken out of its usual context and transformed into an underwater folly. 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 provides layered zones for coral reef growth and interstitial spaces for exploration. The stairs rotate around a central forum for underwater gathering and activities.