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EDITOR’S NOTE: Addressing the dramatic phenomenon of massive coral death due to multiple environmental pressures, new farming methods are being developed worldwide to grow different coral species until they can eventually be transplanted back onto natural reefs. MARS, which stands for Modular Artificial Reef Structure, reenvisions these farms as a lattice system utilizing 3D modeling and printing technologies to devise molds that are then cast in ceramic. Before being submerged underwater, coral fragments are attached to the structure. MARS provides a rigid skeleton for transplanted corals to grow, while its complex geometry acts as a protective habitat for a number of other reef species such as fish and mollusks, and for the greater reef ecosystem. What follows is a series of videos documenting marine ecosystems in their interaction with the artificial reef structure.

MARS, a project by Alex Goad, is part of the Broken Nature exhibition, open through September 1 at La Triennale di Milano.

Alex Goad
Alex Goad is an industrial designer and founder of Reef Design Lab. His work investigates how we can design for marine ecosystems and is currently collaborating with marine biologists on a range of research projects. Combining 3D printing with traditional manufacturing to achieve complex geometric outcomes at scale are a particular focus of his studio. Partnerships with Sydney Institute of Marine Science are currently looking at how 3D printed geometries can increase biodiversity on seawalls and self initiated projects include the MARS system which was designed as a permanent coral farming device made from ceramic. His studio is based in Melbourne, Australia.

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