When the mercury rises, human instinct leads most of us to the sandy shores of the nearest beach, where the healing powers of cool water calms hearts and minds. In Tampa Bay, Florida, relief is coming in a different form. For the next three weeks, the city is home to 'The Beach', an interactive design installation from Snarkitecture, which first made waves in Washington, DC last summer.
Situated in downtown Tampa's huge Amalie Arena, Snarkitecture’s new version of the beach is considerably larger than the original. It measures in at 15,000 sq ft and is filled with an ‘ocean’ of 1.2 million recyclable and anti-microbial white balls. Constructed from scaffolding, wall panels and perforated mesh, 'The Beach Tampa' comes complete with the accoutrements one might expect of your typical waterfront boardwalk. Beach chairs, umbrellas and a beach hut pepper the shoreline, to suit other beachfront activities.
Should visitors choose to dive in past the 75-ft periphery, they will be greeted with a seemingly infinite sea of balls, thanks to mirrored walls that create an endless reflected horizon.
‘"The Beach Tampa" is nearly twice the size of the first iteration at the National Building Museum,’ says Snarkitecture partner Benjamin Porto. ‘We wanted to make sure that visitors in Tampa still had that original experience, which is contingent on the relationship between the elements. With that in mind, some elements, like the pier, were scaled accordingly to accommodate the larger footprint. We added new "dune" seating and took advantage of the doubled number of balls by using mirrors on all three sides of the "ocean"; this creates a real sense of vastness to the installation.’
‘After visiting "The Beach DC" last summer, I was inspired to share Snarkitecture’s vision with Tampa Bay,’ comments Penny Vinik of the Vinik Foundation, responsible for bringing the installation to Tampa. ‘"The Beach Tampa" transforms the familiar beach experience into a truly unique, visually stimulating and tactile activity. It’s just pure fun.’