Unique Public Fountains & Spaces

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My best friend Steve settles in, hard by the Ira Keller Fountain in Portland, Oregon, during their wonderful visit there a couple years back. The Keller Fountain offers a full body experience which can be especially refreshing on hot Summer days. Fountains such as this were designed to enjoy up close and personal, a wonderful civic experience amid the workaday world and the hubub therein.

Public edifices are like smiles – no one forces you use them. They are a response to an urge to appreciate ourselves and therefore make absolutely no real rational or intellectual sense. Like anything which is beautiful, the wonder is implicit as we adore what we see. I believe beauty lights us up inside by its contagious nature. I think that’s why God invented beautiful men and women. I mean, you can have too much mud, let’s face it.

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Below, we catch a stunning work of man in this constructed waterfall and a couple of huge lakes on the Papa John’s Pizza campus in Louisville. It’s a wonderful place to walk, with a landscape just completely enriching to experience. The scale is pretty much off the charts – an installer’s Paradise, with tiny little projects abounding.

Catching the corporate Paradise urge, enlivening our outdoors with splendid works of architectural and constructed resemblances of Nature Herself, we go to Seattle and visit the amazing waterfall built by my friends at Teufel Nurseries for the Microsoft Campus. This one needs to be seen to fully appreciate.

I’m a huge urban fountain fan. I love seeing a bustling population all buzzing around these “human flypaper” structures. Humans are plain drawn to water – it’s a trait we probably manifested back when we were fish – (I’ll ask a couple of my older friends to verify) – our children seem to believe water is magical, even when contaminated with mud. It’s just that cool!

So what we get with these designs are not just the wonder of water itself, acting on us in all of water’s ineffably strange and subtle manners, but we also get to grade the structures made to support it all. This one below generally gets an “A”.

I guess it deserves it. 😉

This one below – The Magic Fountain – is in Barcelona – just another of the many reasons I need to see that town. The lighting alone on this stunning public fountain is absolutely Galactic Class:

Breath-taking, really, isn’t it?

Fun-loving civic projects – both publicly and privately-funded provide more grist for the Beauty Mill. For the vast majority of us, a puddle can be a world in and of itself. When placed in the hands of ambitious designers, they take on another entire realm of Wonder, such as this Singapore Fountain, the largest in the World:

It just doesn’t stop. Fun, vibrantly colorful, aided by lighting and engineering trickery, we look at such things and laugh. Their reason to exist is so tentative, yet so enabling for us all to catch our Souls as they smile.

 

Drunk on Fountains – Part 2 of The World Tour

Who cares if fountains only serve water?

Actually, some do better than water. Check out this fountain and guess what material the Bellagio Casino is featuring………..

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Yes, that would be four different varieties of……..Chocolate. 😉

What a Hijack! I admit I tried breaking in but was caught, handcuffed and led to the Pay Section where they only had 450 different chocolate items. They mentioned the scores of Choco-holics who gathered around this fountain and that my behavior was not the slightest bit unusual. They have a Drool Patrol who are often called in for clean-up purposes.

So where were we? Oh – sure! Lawns.  No?  Oh, fountains again? OK, just to say we did, here’s an unusual one, found right smack in the middle of Chicago:

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Spanish artist Jaume Plensa designed the Crown Fountain to be a tribute to the people of Chicago. The faces that appear to spit streams of water out from the towers are those of 1,000 Chicagoans rotated at random. Though water only flows from mid-spring to mid-fall each year in consideration of Chicago’s often nasty winter weather, the LCD screens are on full time. This one and the next one – Andres Heller-designed – have been shown in here before, but their fascinating uniqueness deserve a reprise. In my opinion, there are some things which never get old. This is from the entrance to the Swarovski headquarters in Wattens, Austria.

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William Pyea killer website here – is another searcher taken from among the multitude of artists featuring water in fountains as well as in actual works of art – or both. His work typically is most identified for his incredible Vortex Water Sculpture called Charybdis – here it is:

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Other works of Mr. Pye are clearly constructed by someone who is utterly fascinated with water and its effects, such as this gorgeous work below and a more distant perspective of the same work taken from farther out. This work is called “Canyon” and it fits:

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Please enlarge these to get their fuller effect –

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Other William Pye works include this gorgeous metal piece outside of Lloyd’s Shipping in London, a work entitled “Argosy”:

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Pye’s ultimate fascination did indeed result in ways and means to watch the kenetic properties of rushing water as it appears as a flowing entity over different surfaces and at different pulsations. He was also hugely interested in how light performed in and through water, a gift he dealt out very lushly.

Below is a 6 story drop of a cascade which is attached to a wall. It’s pretty long but totally worth the look in here:

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The cascade consists of a vertical rill of water flowing down six stories of bronze panels that are sculpted to create a ripple effect in the water. Four glass panels forming the water wall are suspended from a cantilevered tubular structure, which both holds them in place and acts as a conduit for the water supply. Water is distributed evenly along the length of the panels and flows over the back and front surfaces of the glass. The water is caught in the shallow granite pool into which fibre-optic lights are set. These pick out the colours in the bronze backdrop and highlight the shapes created by the rippling water.

Pretty cool!  😉

Back to chocolate………………..

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This “Chocolate Fountain” you can actually dip from. It is from a place with the Other-Worldly title of the “Cologne Chocolate Museum” which, in itself, is enough to drive certain persons I know to light-headedness. I have therefore supplied a link here – Chocolate Museum – so that they can verify its existence and plan accordingly.

My advice is to wait a week.

A small bit of distraction, first……….. I always hate omitting Tivoli, simply because I think rather ancient stuff rocks:

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But then, I was in Korea for a while in another life and what they did to this bridge I can’t help but be proud of and to absolutely adore:

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Here is a very cool video of this – Banpo – bridge in operation:

Fountains – My New Blog

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As many in here know, I have been closing in on a stable relationship. Yes, that is new.  😉  Well – it’s happened and I have opened up a brand spanking new blog in partnership with the good folks at Pond And Fountain World here in Louisville, Kentucky. Right down the street, in fact, from where I live.

Here is the blog, catch the pithy and snazzy title:  Pond And Fountain World Blog

I’ve always loved their premises. Browsing reveals some truly wonderful naturalistic waterfalls and features, construction aspects of which they do work at in Louisville. The waterfalls, ponds and small residential and commercial water features numbers in the hundreds.

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Cool carp, too!

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Although they have a fairly sweet – if crowded – premises, their primary sales are in fountains of all types. And I do mean “all types”, including indoor and outdoor fountains, wall fountains which hang on walls, great huge spray fountain systems for lakes and the cutest little “tabletop” fountains. Needless to say, I’ll be posting about lighting, installation and upkeep like nobody’s business, but I will also feature pictures from fountains they’ve installed as well as abundant subjects congruent with water itself. In the end, as my “About” section details, water is much more the subject at hand – water and its handling.

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It’s a marriage as well of convenience and pleasure because of the tight connection with what I’ve always dealt with in landscaping and my obvious love for using water in my own landscaping designs. The owner, George, visits her from time to time and he was aware of this blog already. I’ve already enjoyed the relationship and I hope it takes off as a good little fountain corner of the blogosphere. It sure is fun to write about.

Anyway, we launched it yesterday, September 25. Go take a look.

Or else.  🙂

Pond and Fountain World – My New Buddies

Pond and Fountain World (link)

I have a new bff. I think that’s the Internet term, for new bestest friends. 😉  When I first moved to Louisville, almost a year ago now, I kept noticing this place with all the fountains, their big ol’ sign sporting their name and logo. Well, it didn’t take long for me to visit, needless to say. It’s not as if that’s not completely right up my alley or anything. Wow – I was pretty stunned. They admit they are crowded but who cares? What a treat. They have Koi!

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Browsing Pond and Fountain World’s headquarters was a wonderful refreshment for me – they display a phenomenal number of their products but they have far, far more. There are water pumps pretty much everywhere, running the fountains they feature – we’re talking well-hidden electrical cords galore. But the incredible water falls, ponds and constructed displays are also off the charts. We’re talking “The Natural Look” side of things, ala this blog’s many water features. These guys are brothers.

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I rudely introduced myself and dropped my name and this blog’s presence. I actually got to speak with the owner, George, at that time, but he was as distracted as any landscape business owner would be at that time of the year. He did, however, say he knew of me and wanted to speak further. I was intrigued. Finally, we actually produced a get-together and they mentioned they might want me to blog for them as well. This could happen. There is a definite synergy of interests there.

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What I was really interested in was selling their products in other blogs and George mentioned his eBay page and such, which would work just fine for me as an affiliate of eBay. This I intend to do unless we produce a blog together – which we are talking about now. We’ll see. In any event, I like the place and the folks there.

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It’s a fascinating resource so close to home for me and they do so many things I have done. It’s also wonderful to watch someone else deal with the stress of business, I confess, while I now possess this newer identity as a “blogger” who can stay in his pajamas all day long if he wants. I suddenly feel like The Grateful Dead. 😉  Or is that Cheech and Chong?

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It’s definitely crowded. It reminded me of those cemeteries in New Orleans, with all the closely-clustered and sculpted graves and statures. Ironically, it’s still possible to imagine any fountain or feature sold there on its own, at the same time. Plentiful, gorgeous and quite satiating for the water fanatic in us all. Check out these two Bronze items from Italy:

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At any rate, they reminded me not just of the glory of fountains, per se, but also of the human love affair with water itself. Water as art, water as a movable feast for the eyes and the ears and for the soul – and all the different ways the civilized human species has devised to present water as a kinetic art form.

Me likey.  😉

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