Summer Island Maldives resort in collaboration with the Reef Design Lab, Australia, and Diverland Maldives has installed the worlds largest and the Maldives first 3D-printed reef in its lagoon.
The artificial reef, assembled with hundreds of ceramic and concrete modules, was submerged in seven metres of water in a part of the lagoon where Summer Island Maldives is building a new coral reef ecosystem.
The project started in Australia, where industrial designer Alex Goad of Reef Design Lab used computing modelling to design reef structures similar to those found naturally in the Maldives.
A 3D printer took 24 hours to print moulds which were then cast in ceramic, an inert substance similar to limestone rock, and shipped to the Maldives. They were filled with marine concrete on the resorts beach before being taken into the lagoon and assembled.
Coral fragments, grown on the Summer Islands existing and extensive coral nursery, were then transplanted into the 3D reef. In a few years, when the corals have colonised the reef, the resort wants a new reef teeming with fish and other marine life.
The resort aims to study the reef with the help of marine biologists over the next few years, to see if the 3D version is better at encouraging coral growth than existing methods of artificially growing corals, such as with steel frames.
Furthermore, the resort has also introduced other environmental initiatives including the adoption of solar energy, a ban plastic straw usage and phasing out imported drinking water as these policies were popular among guests and staff.
Summer Island Maldives is one of the countrys first resorts and remains wholly Maldivian owned. It was recently refurbished, and now boasts fresh and zesty rooms, award-winning restaurants, a rustic beach bar, a dive school and a spa offering a range of wellness treatments and massages.