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The Floating Reef Cinema

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 02, 2012 09:00 AM
Yesterday we visited glorious Thailand in our latest Destination Reefs installment. We stay in Thailand one more day to marvel the incredible architectural exhibit imagined by Ole Scheeren: A floating movie theater nestled in a coral reef lagoon.

Archipelago Cinema

If you like movies, coral reefs, and art, you're going to love this.  German architect Ole Scheeren designed and installed a truly awe-inspiring functional art: a movie theater floating in the turquoise lagoon of Nai Pi Lae Lagoon on Kudu Island, Thailand.


The architect's website describes the visionary project:

The thought of watching films here seemed surprising: A screen, nestled somewhere between the rocks. And the audience… floating. Hovering above the sea, somewhere in the middle of this incredible space of the lagoon, focused on the moving images across the water. A landscape of pieces playfully joined together. A sense of temporality, randomness. Almost like drift wood. Or maybe something more architectural. Modular pieces, loosely assembled, like a group of little islands. A congregation of rafts as an auditorium. Archipelago Cinema.

Using recycled wood, Ole Scheeren borrowed the raft-building techniques of local lobster fishermen to construct Archipelago Cinema: Wooden frames were bound to foam blocks using rubber straps and mosquito nets to create floating rafts.  The modular rafts allow for assembly, disassembling, reassembling, and reconfiguration for future reuse.


The project was designed for Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation.  Alas, only a few lucky moviegoers had the opportunity to watch a film on the floating cinema; Archipelago Cinema was dismantled (as the architect had envisioned) shortly after its debut and donated to the Yao Noi village.

We eagerly await its rebirth!


All images by Piyatat Hemmatat, Sixtysix Visual, Doug Bruce, and Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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