Aquatic poetry. Aquarium as an object of art. A rainbow of colors. A fleeting dream captured by a magician. A jewel carefully planted inside a velvety dark space. This is the masterpiece created by Takashi Amano: the world’s largest nature aquarium.
A professional cyclist, an award-winning nature photographer, a prolific author, and a legendary aquarist. An outsider possibly never heard his name, but freshwater aquarium enthusiasts consider him a genius. Takashi Amano created a whole new way of aquascaping. He introduced the Japanese gardening techniques combined with Wabi-Sabi aesthetics (a set of principles centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection; sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete) into the design of planted aquariums. He called it Nature Aquarium.
In 2013, the Lisbon Oceanarium in Portugal (Oceanário de Lisboa) invited Takashi Amano to create the world’s largest Nature Aquarium. Forests Underwater (Florestas Submersas) is an incredible work of art that, sadly, became his last masterpiece (he died from pneumonia just 3 months after completing the project in 2015).
Some facts and figures that illustrate the grandiose scale of this project:
- the u-shaped nature aquarium recreates the balance of nature, its cycles of life and transformation
- 40m long, 2,5m wide and 1,5m deep
- 160,000 litre (160 cubic meters) volume
- 4 tons of sand
- 25 tons of volcanic rocks from Azores
- 2 tons of wooden branches, including 78 giant tree trunks from Scotland and Malaysia
- 46 species of aquatic plants
- 10,000 tropical freshwater fish of 40 different species
Mr. Amano’s company, Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd., provided an extremely detailed account of all stages of this unprecedented project. Somewhat lengthy, it includes tons of interesting facts, challenges, an interview with Takashi Amano and a number of videos that recorded the whole process. The videos are accompanied by the original music composed by Rodrigo Leão.
Lisbon Oceanarium on Google Maps:
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