SBID Accredited CPD: Integrated aquariums in design & space 1st April 2014 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID

The most recent SBID accredited Continual Professional Development (CPD) event captured my attention, for its’ uniqueness both in subject matter and in presentation. An underrated and arguably unique feature, Aquafront presented the evenings’ talk on aquariums in interior design and architecture.

As designers, we often run through mental checklists when designing a space, layout, structure, ergonomics, furniture, lighting, surfaces, accessories… the idea of natural, living organisms becoming a striking feature in themselves is something often far from the realms of such spacial inclusions.

Inviting us to see aquariums as a meaningful way of ‘connecting people to nature’, Akil Gordon-Beckford, Director of Aquafront, presented an informative and inspiring talk. Taking our minds to faraway place such as The Caribbean, he outlined the various types of aquariums and the species of fish associated with each, from Freshwater to saltwater-inhabiting Tropical fish.

Akil explained the journey of the ecosystem and the importance of aquarium maintenance, including the risks of deterioration to the environment and it’s organisms, caused by algae.

From a practical point of view, he discussed the pros and cons of certain aquarium materials, from glass to acrylic. Little did I know, acrylic is 17x stronger than glass. He touched on the various lighting options, including fluorescents, LED’s, and more interestingly, fibre optics. We were reminded of the cutting-edge technology available to us today as Akil explained how Android devices are able to control and maintain balance with the aquarium.

Not only did the talk cover every aspect of an aquarium from the biological elements to the functional considerations, included also, relevantly, were aquarium designs and how we can add this feature to our space for a particular desired aesthetic and purpose.

Akil’s presentation was delivered with healthy doses of both informative science and approachable charisma, a great combination for keeping us industry associates captivated throughout.

He concluded with a unique treat for the aural senses that only helped sharpen one of Aquafront’s key objectives – with a dimmed room, we closed our eyes and listened to a recording of beach sounds; waves crashing against a shore and seagulls singing, certainly a prominent and memorable way of ‘connecting people to nature’.

As we shifted back to reality, topped up the wine and started a chat with a fellow guest, I looked around at the colourful, curvaceous, modular furniture in Davison Highley, chosen venue for the evening, and visualized the curved motion of vibrant tropical fish filling an aquarium and standing out as a never-before-considered feature of a living space.

Author: Shanna Rogan, emerging Interior Designer and founder of interior-imagination

To see more pictures from the event, please visit our Facebook page here.

Photos provided by Marek Sikora Photography