Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Top Ten Fountains

Chicago's Buckingham Fountain did not make the list but was a close runner-up
Few works of art add more comfort to the soul and psyche than the sign and sound of water in motion. Despite this, we seldom think of water as an art medium unless we pollute it with pigments and stain paper with them. Although sculptors, architects, and engineers have been constructing them for many centuries it's hard to say when and where they first took form as works of art. Historians claim that gravity-fed fountains as we know them today were first built by the Greeks about 600 B.C. Most were utilitarian, used to supply drinking water in public places. It wasn't until the latter decades of the 19th- century, as modern day plumbing evolved that purely decorative fountains came into being. Shortly thereafter, hydraulic engineers were called upon to turn stone, glass, concrete and steel into the truly incredible works of art we marvel at today. Below are my biased aesthetic judgements as to the top ten. In making my choices, I took into consideration innovation, size, beauty, and the psychological effects displayed in such works . By all means, feel free to disagree.
Crown Fountain--fine if you don't mind being spit on.
10. The Crown Fountain in Chicago, was designed by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Located in Millennium Park is a major addition to the city's world-renowned public art collection. The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, when faces of mythological figures were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out. Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through an outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa's tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents. The fountain’s water features operate during the year between mid-spring and mid-fall, while the images remain on view year-round.
Trevi Fountain--been there, done that.
9. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy is one of the world’s most famous fountains and one of its oldest, located in the Trevi district in Rome. It is 26.3 meters (86 ft.) high and 49.15 meters (161.3 ft.) wide. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Located in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, it was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain.According to the famous legend, if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome (provided you throw a few coins at your travel agent too).
In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, decided the earlier fountain was insufficiently dramatic, so he asked his favorite sculptor and architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, to sketch possible renovations. The project was abandoned when the pope died. Though Bernini's project was never constructed, there are many Bernini touches in the fountain as it exists today. An early, influential model by Pietro da Cortona, is preserved in the Albertina, Vienna, along with various early 18th-century unsigned sketches, as well as a project attributed to Nicola Michetti, another attributed to Ferdinando Fuga, along with a French design by Edme Bouchardon. Though Bernini is routinely given credit for the fountain's design, the attribution is quite uncertain at best. The building behind the fountain is the Poli Palace.
Calder's Mercury Fountain--who says you need lots of water for a fountain? All you need is a liquid.
8. The modernist sculptor, Alexander Calder designed this fountain, which features now water cascading down to a sizable pool, but with actual mercury. It was featured in the entry of the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. Opposite Calder's fountain was Picasso's famous Guernica, also designed especially for the exhibition. Like Picasso's painting, this sculpture is a political statement, protesting Franco's siege of the Almadén mercury mines during the Spanish Civil War.
The most noted example is a modern sculpture designed by the American artist Alexander Calder and commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. The unique fountain is a memorial to the siege of Almadén, which then supplied 60-percent of the world's mercury, making it a direct counterpart to Picasso's Guernica. Due to the fact that mercury is now considered a dangerous substance, today the fountain is housed behind glass at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.
Samson Fountain--the painting at the top is mine.
7. The Samson Fountain is located behind the Peterhof Palace near Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Peterhof Palace is a series of palaces and gardens laid out on the orders of Peter the Great starting in 1710. They are often referred as the “Russian Versailles”. The palace has many fountains, but the most important of them are the Samson Fountains added In the 1730s. It depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, symbolizing Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War. The Grand Cascade is modelled on one constructed for Louis XIV at his Château de Marly.
At the center of the cascade is an artificial grotto with two stories, faced inside and out with hewn brown stone. It currently contains a modest museum of the fountains' history. One of the exhibits is a table carrying a bowl of (artificial) fruit, a replica of a similar table built under Peter's direction. The table is rigged with jets of water that soak visitors when they reach for the fruit, a feature from Mannerist gardens that remained popular in Germany. The grotto is connected to the palace above and behind by a hidden corridor.
The fountains of the Grand Cascade are located below the grotto and on either side of it. There are 64 fountains. Their water flows into a semicircular pool, and from there into a fountain-lined sea channel. In the 1730s, the large Samson Fountain was placed in this pool. The lion is an element of the Swedish coat of arms, and one of the great victories of the war was won on St. Samson's Day. From the lion's mouth shoots a 20-metre-high vertical jet of water, the highest in all of Peterhof array. This masterpiece by Mikhail Kozlovsky was looted by the invading Germans during the Second World War. A replica of the statue was installed in 1947.
Perhaps the greatest technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of pumps. Water is supplied from natural springs and collects in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens. The elevation difference creates the pressure that drives most of the fountains of the Lower Gardens, including the Grand Cascade. The Samson Fountain is supplied by a special aqueduct, over three miles in length, drawing water and pressure from a high-elevation source.
Canal City--the only one of these water fountains
that's inside. Go to the restroom before the show.
6. Canal City is located in Hakata, Japan, a large shopping and entertainment complex in Fukuoka, Japan. Called the "city within the city," it boasts numerous attractions including shop, cafes, restaurants, a theater, game center, cinemas, two hotels, and a canal, which runs through the complex. Canal City has become a tourist attraction and commercial success for Fukuoka. It is the largest private development in the history of Japan ($1.4 billion). It is built with a distinctive fanciful style, with many curving sculptures and fountains causing city of Fukuoka to be hardly visible. The atmosphere seems like an oasis far outside the rest of the town. Check out the video below. This fountain wins the award as the most innovative (click below).

Mind blowing !!
Dubai Fountain,  in one of the most expensive cities on earth.
5. Dubai Fountain, begs the question, is there anything Dubai doesn't do bigger and better? If the Dubai Fountain is any example, probably not. This fountain is, located in the 30-acre Burj Dubai Lake. It was completed in 2010. More than 83,000 liters of water can be projected up to 152 meters into the sky during the Dubai Fountain's water show. It is also lit by 6,600 lights and 50 color projectors, making the fountain still more spectacular at night. Currently, the fountain show is a favorite tourist attraction for people of all ages. The city of Dubai is a city that is aware of the tourism generated by such a spectacle and wants to promote the Dubai Fountain as one of the primary attractions for visitors. Dubai Fountain is in the area of Dubai Mall which is a part of the in Burj Khalifa complex, of downtown Dubai complex.
King Fahd Fountain, where water may someday
be more costly than oil--looks like gusher.
4. The King Fahd’s Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is also known as the Jeddah Fountain. It is the tallest fountain of its kind in the world. Located on the coast of Jeddah, the fountain jets water 1,024 feet (312 m) into the air. In the clear desert air, it can easily be seen throughout the entire vicinity of Jeddah. The fountain uses saltwater taken from the Red Sea instead of freshwater. It also uses over 500 spotlights for illumination at night. The King Fahd Fountain is famous taller than the Eiffel Tower if you exclude the antenna. It uses three massive pumps that can deliver 625 liters of water per second at an amazing speed of 233 mph (375 km/h). The fountain was donated to the city of Jeddah by King Fahd, for whom it's named. It was constructed between 1980 and 1983 and was launched in 1985. The second-tallest such fountain is the World Cup Fountain in Seoul, South Korea, with a water height of about 202 meters (663 ft.). If you travel to Jeddah (and who doesn't these days) don’t forget to pay it a visit. It’s incredible.
Moonlight Fountain--colored water under the bridge.
3. The Banpo Bridge fountain, at 1140 meters in length (approx. 3740 ft.) is the worlds longest fountain. It has 380 nozzles that pump out 190 tons of water a minute. 220 lights in a kaleidoscope of color garnered it the name of Moonlight Rainbow Fountain. Not surprisingly, the fountain is world's longest bridge fountain. It set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles that run along both sides for 1,140m. Installed in September 2009 on the Banpo Bridge, the former mayor of Seoul Oh Se-hoon declared that the bridge would further beautify the city and showcase Seoul's eco-friendliness, as the water is pumped directly from the river itself and continuously recycled. The bridge has 38 water pumps and 380 nozzles on each side, which draw water from the river some twenty meters below the deck. It shoots water as far as 43 meters horizontally. The bridge is constructed solely from bamboo, by the way.
Fountain of Wealth--inspired by a basketball hoop, no doubt.
2. Fountain of Wealth, is located in one of the largest shopping malls in Singapore called Suntec City. It is the World’s Largest Fountain according to the 1998 Guinness Book of Records. During certain periods of the day, the fountain is turned off and visitors are invited to walk around the mini fountain located in the center of the fountain to collect coins for good luck. During the night, the fountain is the setting for laser performances, as well as live entertainment. The Fountain of Wealth was created using bronze. It weighs approximately 85 tons and is situated on top of an underground restaurant that allows diners to look above and view the ring.
Bellagio Fountains
1. And that brings us to the Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas. The Fountains of the Bellagio are huge, located on a manmade lake in front of the Bellagio hotel. The fountains feature vast, choreographed water performances set to light and music. The performances are visible from the strip. The show takes place every 30 minutes in the afternoons and early evenings, and every 15 minutes from 8 pm to midnight. The fountain display is choreographed to various pieces of music, including “Time To Say Goodbye”, “Your Song”, “Viva Las Vegas”, “Luck Be a Lady”, and “My Heart Will Go On.”
The Bellagio's Fountain Show
Contrary to a common urban myth, the lake is filled with treated greywater from the hotel. It is also serviced by a fresh water well, that was drilled decades ago to irrigate a golf course, which previously utilized the site. In fact, the fountains use less water at present than did the golf course. The fountains incorporate a network of underwater pipes with over 1,200 nozzles making it possible to stage fountain displays coordinated with over 4,500 lights. It is estimated that the fountains cost $50-million to build.
The Bellagio's Sombrero
The performances take place in front of the Bellagio hotel and are visible from numerous vantage points on the Strip, both from the street and neighboring structures. Two minutes before each water show starts, the nozzles begin to break the water's surface and the lights illuminating the hotel tower turn to a purple hue (usually), or red-white-and-blue for certain music. Shows may be cancelled without warning because of high wind, although shows usually run with less power in face of wind. A single show may be skipped to avoid interference with a planned event. Additional shows can occur for special occasions including weddings. The fountain display is choreographed to various pieces of music, including God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood, Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley, Luck Be a Lady by Frank Sinatra, My Heart Will Go On by Céline Dion, and The Sound of Silence by Disturbed. The fountains were created by WET, a design firm specializing in inventive fountains and architectural water features.

To see the show, click below.


The Fountain, 1917,
R. Mutt (Marcel Duchamp).
Though quite famous, this
"Fountain" wasn't on my
list either.

No comments:

Post a Comment