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For Merge Festival 2015, Bompas & Parr invited The Chamber of Wishes, featuring the world’s first bioluminescent algae-based grotto, as part of an installation for the acclaimed South Bank Festival. 

By unveiling the lost rich history of springs, wells and grottos in London’s Bankside, and the rare phenomenon of bioluminescent sea water, Bompas & Parr's aim was to facilitate a truly unique merger between art, science, folklore and the mystery of the natural world. To do this, Bompas & Parr enlisted the help of Microbiologist Dr. Simon Park to bring one of the ocean’s great secrets, bioluminescent sea water, to light.

Once inside the darkly mysterious chamber, guests discovered an atmosphere shrouded in mist and heavy with the scent of the sea. Delicate neon patterning across the chamber’s floor and walls guided guests to the central attraction, a fragile array of glass wishing bells. Each bell contained briny water thick with bioluminescent algae. By ringing a bell, guests would cast a wish and set the algae aglow with a phosphorescent shimmer.

Styling and Design Development: Mariah Wright

Photography: Ann Charlott Ommedal / Mariah Wright