Europe’s first underwater museum opens

From science to history, museums are an established part of culture, and, of course, tourism. This week, though, sees the opening of a first for Europe: an underwater museum.

Yes, we’ve had underwater hotels, underwater homes and underwater bedrooms. Now, the museum world is getting in on the craze.

The aquatic attraction is the brainchild of British artist Jason deCaires Taylor and sits on the ocean bed just off the coast of Lanzarote. Covering an epic 2,500 square metres of submarine real estate, the museum features more than 300 sculptural works by Taylor, each one located 14 metres beneath the world as we know it.

It’s a cool idea, with a cool mode of presentation: the site can be visited by scuba divers or tourists sailing over the top in glass-bottomed boats. Even its name, Museo Atlántico, sounds cool.

What guests will see is a jaw-dropping array of works and figures, from The Portal, featuring someone gazing into an underwater mirror, to Crossing the Rubicon, a collection of people walking towards a 30-metre-long, 4-metre-high wall.

“The wall is intended to be a monument to absurdity,” Taylor tells DesignBoom. “It emphasizes that the notions of ownership and territories are irrelevant to the natural world. in times of increasing patriotism and protectionism the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions.”

With each permanent work sculpted from pH neutral materials, so that local fish species and marine life can continue to reproduce, the result is an art gallery that combines concerns about the environment with themes of refugees and dreams. And snorkels.

It’s a far cry from the normal tourist attraction that sits in a building on dry land in cities around the world. It is not the first such venture from Taylor, though, who has previously opened the MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) in Mexico’s Cancun, and the Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada. Nonetheless, the museum is likely to bring in visitors from all over, further boosting Lanzarote’s international appeal to tourists and investors alike. Not convinced? Dive into the pictures below and join the queue of people waiting to visit.

Underwater museum 1

Underwater museum 3

All photos: DesignBoom