3-D printed reef of Maldivian resort makes onto Guinness World Record book

Summer Island's 3D printed reef. (Photo/Summer Island)

The 3-D printed coral reef of Summer Island has been recognized as the largest of its kind by The Guinness Book of World Records. 

The reef is now included in the Guinness list of world records this year. The artificial reef was submerged in 2018, at Summer Island’s ‘Blue Lagoon’ area which is a sandy part of the lagoon. The resort hopes to create a new coral reef ecosystem at the location and to provide a new home for corals, fish and other marine species.

The reef also demonstrates how new technologies such as 3-D printing can be used to protect the Maldives from climate change and sea level rise. As the world’s lowest-lying nation, it is extremely vulnerable to the rising seas.

The 3-D reef project was started in Melbourne, Australia, where Industrial designer Alex Goad of Reef Design Lab used sophisticated computer modeling to design reef structures similar to the coral reefs found in the Maldives.

A large 3-D printer worked tirelessly for 24 hours moulding the structures out of ceramic, an inert substance similar to the calcium carbonate found in coral reefs.

The moulds were then shipped to the Maldives and filled with marine concrete before being submerged to a depth of seven meters, close to the resort’s existing coral nursery. Fragments from the nursery were then transplanted onto the 3-D reef.

Regarding the world record, Summer Island Resort Manager Mari Shareef said that “While it is rewarding that our 3-D reef is being recognized worldwide, it is important to remind ourselves of the tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to safeguard our environment,"

"As part of our enviornmental initiatives we have phased out imported drinking water, and placed a ban on single use plastic items, such as straws, bottles and bags. We are continuously looking at innovative ways to push ourselves to be better guardians of the environment,”

The Guinness World Records has published its record book for over 60 years, including world records on a variety of topics and events. A model of the Summer Island 3-D is currently on display at New York’s prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in an exhibition entitled ‘Broken Nature’.

According to MoMA, the exhibition highlights the concept of “restorative design” and presents objects and concepts that offer diverse strategies in the effort to help humans repair their relationship to the environments that they share.