The Diatom Ice Lab

Photos by Vera Marmelo

We scale microscopic life to large ice sculptures

Hidden in the Sea

More than 70% of our Planet are covered with water. Which mysteries are yet to be discovered by the human eye?

The ICARUS project focuses on the small, the commonly hidden, microscopic lifeforms. The tiny organisms play an important role on our planet.

The main protagonist of our work are the diatoms – microscopic algae which provide a majority of the oxygen we breath.

Diatoms form tiny glass houses with pores so minute that they can interact with sunlight.

We scale these diatom structures to meter large ice sculptures. And let them melt.

Melting Ice

The volatile nature of Ice Diatom Structures remind of the vulnerability of nature.

We draw awareness for sustainable use of the Ocean and for the protection of biodiversity.


The project draws awareness for the microscopic wonders hidden in our environment.

The project uses a combination of public science dissemination events including art installations to engage with the public.

We scale the microscopic diatom glass shells to large ice sculptures to make them visible to the naked eye. Ice has interesting material properties: It resembles the optical properties of glass, and it melts, creating a narrative of vulnerability.

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