When visiting new cities, aquariums and zoos are usually low priorities for me and the landscaper. We are the type of nature lovers who prefer to see nature natural, but on our recent trip to Lisbon, the landscaper insisted we had to go.
Takashi Amano died recently back in 2015, following the completion of the 'Forests Underwater' exhibition - the first time an artist has curated an exhibition at the Oceanario de Lisboa. The incredible installation mesmerises the Oceanario's visitors and the accompanying soundscape created by musician and composer Rodrigo Leão, draws us further in to a soft throb of contemplation and awe.
Takashi Amano, the most famous aquascaper in the world, uses Japanese gardening techniques and the wabi sabi concept into the design of planted aquariums, or “nature aquariums” to build majestic installations which speak to threat of the environment and our aquatic eco-systems, inviting the observer to sit with the sounds and sights. The beautiful back lighting draws the eye into the heart of the 'Forest' and the space, which boasts reclining furniture, invites you to stay and watch the light action unfolding behind the glass. We were told at the gate that we had to buy a ticket for both the permanent 'collection' as well as the 'Underwater Forest' which was a great shame, because as much as I delight in seeing luminous del water jelly fish, I did feel sorry for the sharks and sting rays, penguins and sea otters that would no doubt have been happier in natural habitat, fighting for their food, intend of being fed by hand. We spoke to some locals who worked at the Pistola y Corazon (best Mexican food eve - but get there early if you want to sit) and they assured us that it was a tourist trap and that locals just insist. It's too late for us, but maybe we can save someone else!
Where: Oceanario de Lisboa
When: Now (though it is unclear from the website, when it will actually end)