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Sharks and Morays and Jelly fish, oh my!
City Aquarium's custom-built aquariums let your imagination swim wildly through the depths of the deep down under from the comfort of your own home.
By Vanessa Valera
Photography by Jason Brownrigg for City Aquarium
Custom-built aquariums have become more than just awe-inspiring collectors' items for aquatic aficionados. Now, renowned as a chief design and décor staple for all multimillion-dollar luxury lifers, these City Aquarium tanks enhance the very nature of high-profile living.
Naturally, no bachelor pad or mansion would be complete without one of these highly sought-after personalized water worlds to accessorize its most frequented living areas. And though they are difficult to find, Justin Muir and the nautical design experts from City Aquarium make ordering your custom-built aquarium as easy as 1-2-3; all the while, offering site-specific installations, customized to reflect your individual preferences.
City Aquarium's design team is comprised of proficient specialists, which include architects, biologists, interior and furniture specialists, sculptors, and visual artists who work to assemble these enviable fresh-water domains. Developing its own set of distinctive design procedures, City Aquarium has repeatedly distinguished itself from its competitors. For instance, for highly specialized orders, City Aquarium designs a top-notch facet of its tanks' life-support systems in house, while outsourcing the aid of top industry producers and professionals for the complementary specialty accessories.
When planning for your custom aquarium, City Aquarium recommends considering the combination of environmental and lighting schemes, along with architectural design and marine life selection. To add to the diversity of your fashionable aquatic paradise, City Aquarium offers an extensive array of exotic marine life, including sharks, moray eels, jelly fish and rhinopias.
One of the hottest names in New York City's art and design scene is Justin Muir, principal designer for City Aquarium. The company has a client roster that includes the Sultan of Oman, billionaire Michael Barrington, and New York's majestic Dream hotel. Last year, Muir customized a $40,000 aquarium in Barrington's wine cellar at his Nantucket Island estate. Standing 6 feet tall and built into a wood wall, the aquarium features a dramatic handmade reef sculpture and exotic tropical fish.
Muir, who has a degree in marine biology, utilizes a team of interior and furniture designers, architects, sculptors, visual artists, and marine biologists to design one-of-a-kind aquariums that are expressions of water, light, space, and marine life. His residential custom aquariums start at $20,000 and his signature jellyfish aquariums start with a $150,000 price tag.
"High-end customized aquariums have become status symbols just like other expensive pieces of art or sculpture," Muir says. "For that reason, the fish and water are only part of the total package."
A minimalist designer, Muir places strong emphasis on the wood or other material encasing the aquarium. Typically, the furniture cost of a Muir-designed custom aquarium is nearly 70 percent of the total price. The centerpiece of many of his designs is the manmade reef and he also uses rare objects and statues in his aquascape design.
In the never-ending quest to one-up your neighbors, media rooms, and koi ponds simply don't suffice anymore. Today's uber-chic homes now have custom aquariums that are akin to a work of art. City Aquariums creates aquatic installations that have graced the halls of world-class museums, homes of celebrities, as well as the walls of hotspots such as The Coral Room and Duvet. Consisting of interior designers, furniture makers, architects, sculptures and marine biologists, the City Aquarium team uses the world's most exquisite sea life, including shark, eel, coral, and jellyfish to create their glass-enclosed masterpieces. The end result is an underwater fantasy world designed entirely for you. Once your custom-aquarium is complete, City Aquarium maintains your aquatic exhibit with a 24-hour on-call staff of marine and fresh-water biologists.
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