WaterShapes

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A Hit on the High Seas

 

Part I:  Setting the Course

One of the most unusual watershape systems ever built, the AquaTheater on the recently launched Oasis of the Seas is the first theatrical waterfeature ever installed on a cruise ship.  In this special two-in-one article, Fluidity’s Jim Garland and Tom Yankelitis begin with a description of the ideas and the design process that led to creation of this shipboard super-fountain, then Crystal Fountains’ Ritesh Khetia discusses the engineering and systems-integration solutions that make it all work.
One of the most unusual watershape systems ever built, the AquaTheater on the recently launched Oasis of the Seas is the first theatrical waterfeature ever installed on a cruise ship. In this special two-in-one article, Fluidity’s Jim Garland and Tom Yankelitis begin with a description of the ideas and the design process that led to creation of this shipboard super-fountain, then Crystal Fountains’ Ritesh Khetia discusses the engineering and systems-integration solutions that make it all work.
By Jim Garland & Tom Yankelitis

Theatrical vitality has to do with structuring stories and creating dramatic narratives that establish sensations of expectation, surprise and reward.  It also involves the development of sympathetic, interesting characters as well as engagement in “the moment” – the feeling that a special and wonderful entertainment experience is unfolding before the audience in a specific time and place.

Mastering all of that is a tall order under ordinary circumstances, so you can imagine how we felt in trying to help make it happen on the exposed, unpredictable stern deck of Oasis of the Seas – a prestigious ship that currently claims the title of world’s largest cruise liner.

Fluidity – a Los Angeles-based water design studio – pursues unique, progressive projects for an international clientele that includes architects, landscape architects, civic institutions and real estate developers.  Through the years, we’d had considerable experience with theatrical

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From Rice Cooker to Waterfeature

By Dave Garton

DaveGartonRiceCookerWaterfeatureThe warmth and solid heft of aged, cast brass are the hallmarks of the antique rice cooker — a treasure acquired in India several years ago — that now makes a statement to visitors approaching a modern Colorado home's front door.

Forged more than 150 years ago using the same techniques employed in making

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Casting Nature

Decorative-concrete artist Tommy T. Cook has built a reputation for being able to create almost anything from concrete using an array of highly refined and boldly artful processes.  In this feature, he demonstrates a portion of that skill by describing how he uses the gargantuan Gunnera plant to craft watershapes in which replicas of the plant’s outsized leaves serve as uniquely natural fountain basins and spillways.
Decorative-concrete artist Tommy T. Cook has built a reputation for being able to create almost anything from concrete using an array of highly refined and boldly artful processes. In this feature, he demonstrates a portion of that skill by describing how he uses the gargantuan Gunnera plant to craft watershapes in which replicas of the plant’s outsized leaves serve as uniquely natural fountain basins and spillways.
By Tommy T. Cook

Decorative-concrete artist Tommy T. Cook has built a reputation for being able to create almost anything from concrete using an array of highly refined and boldly artful processes.  In this feature, he demonstrates a portion of that skill by describing how he uses the gargantuan Gunnera plant to craft watershapes in which replicas of the plant’s outsized leaves serve as uniquely natural fountain basins and spillways.

Ask anyone who’s tried and it’s almost certain you’ll hear that replicating nature isn’t easy.  That hasn’t stopped artists throughout history from trying, however, or from making natural forms an influential source of artistic imagination and ambition.

The great thing about using nature for inspiration is that it’s all around us and all we need to do to draw on it is open our eyes, make good choices and decide how what we see can be used in our creative endeavors.

In my case, I’d worked in decorative concrete for a long time before nature crawled under my skin.  It began when

Read more: Casting Nature

Recent comments

  • Hello again Terre, You can use glass, but you have to gradate it. As for what types, such as safety glass, well, you are getting into the science of all this and that is not answerable in 300 words. I do offer classes if want to come to NY. Then I can teach you a lot!!!
  • Hi Sumetha, The Gunnera does come back every year. Each year it grows about another foot in diameter. However, it only grows in certain climates.
  • Guest - Terre Tulsiak

    I am inspired every time I come across your work.Could one substitute glass (as aggregate) for the rock? and then how would that affect the sand? being that it too is glass, and could I use safety glass? And would you like a somewhat senior apprentice?
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A Crowning Achievement (pdf version)

4-10-essential-ohearnBy Larry O’Hearn

In July last year, the city of Chicago unveiled its newest civic landmark:  Millennium Park, a world-class artistic and architectural extravaganza in the heart of downtown. At a cost of more than $475 million and in a process that took more than six years to complete, the park transformed a lakefront space once marked by unsightly railroad tracks and ugly parking lots into a civic showcase.

The creation of the 24.5-acre park brought together an unprecedented collection of

Read more: A Crowning Achievement (pdf version)

Civic Celebrations

For years, Montréal’s arts district has been the venue for music and theater performances, art exhibitions, festivals and all manner of cultural events.  As part of a revitalization process in the area, notes David L’Heureux, the city recently unveiled the Place des Festivals and a spectacular watershape he and a distinguished design team built at its heart as a gathering place for residents and visitors of all ages and a civic focus for fun, relaxation and visual joy.
For years, Montréal’s arts district has been the venue for music and theater performances, art exhibitions, festivals and all manner of cultural events. As part of a revitalization process in the area, notes David L’Heureux, the city recently unveiled the Place des Festivals and a spectacular watershape he and a distinguished design team built at its heart as a gathering place for residents and visitors of all ages and a civic focus for fun, relaxation and visual joy.
By David L’Heureux

For years, Montréal’s arts district has been the venue for music and theater performances, art exhibitions, festivals and all manner of cultural events.  As part of a revitalization process in the area, notes David L’Heureux, the city recently unveiled the Place des Festivals and a spectacular watershape he and a distinguished design team built at its heart as a gathering place for residents and visitors of all ages and a civic focus for fun, relaxation and visual joy.  

Throughout North America in recent years, cities have turned to a variety of watershapes to enliven and, occasionally, revitalize their public spaces.  

These watershapes are more than the wonderful fountains long found in public parks and plazas.  Indeed, the recent success of projects including Chicago’s Millennium Park and its ambitious combination of significant waterfeatures with gardens, architecture and art has demonstrated the tremendous potential that lies in crafting interesting, multi-functional places for people to gather.

Canada offers a spectacular recent example of this trend in the form of

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Cooling the Flock

2-20 copley wolff artBy John Copley & Lynn Wolff

Sometimes, it’s the unexpected that gives a place its true spirit.

That’s been very much the case for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, a 1975 addition to Boston’s historic Back Bay district.  The site features a campus plan devised by legendary architects I.M. Pei and Peter Walker, with grounds organized around a

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A Story in Stone

By Dave Garton

DaveGartonStoryinStoneThrough the years, my experience in designing and building naturalistic and architectural watershapes has led me into several situations in which my clients have wanted to use a special heirloom or artifact of some kind as

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Where Art Meets Technology

When second-generation metalworker and sculptor Kris Kesler wanted to take his custom waterfeatures to a higher, more artistic level, he took off his welding mask and picked up a computer mouse.  It’s been liberating, he says, enabling him to design everything from simple scuppers to hurricane-proof fountains and take care of the details that make them work on screen before he puts his hands in gloves and goes at it with hammer and tongs.
When second-generation metalworker and sculptor Kris Kesler wanted to take his custom waterfeatures to a higher, more artistic level, he took off his welding mask and picked up a computer mouse. It’s been liberating, he says, enabling him to design everything from simple scuppers to hurricane-proof fountains and take care of the details that make them work on screen before he puts his hands in gloves and goes at it with hammer and tongs.
By Kris Kesler

When second-generation metalworker and sculptor Kris Kesler wanted to take his custom waterfeatures to a higher, more artistic level, he took off his welding mask and picked up a computer mouse.  It’s been liberating, he says, enabling him to design everything from simple scuppers to hurricane-proof fountains and take care of the details that make them work on screen before he puts his hands in gloves and goes at it with hammer and tongs.

Growing up in a family of industrial and commercial fabricators, I was steeped from an early age in traditional metalworking techniques – hammering, planishing, leather-sandbag shaping and my favorite, torch welding.  Learning at my father’s knee in his commercial steelwork factory led me to admire the artistry of craftspeople as they transformed raw hunks of metal into functional and often beautiful works of art.

The power of that experience has always stuck with me.  Later in life, when I decided to launch my own water- and fire-feature company, I was excited to get back behind the welding mask and

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#1: Rain Fall

By Mike Farley

12-5 farley video art 2I’ve been discussing watershapes with clients for about 25 years now, and it’s been a long time since I was surprised by any of the questions they’ve asked me along the way.

I’ve noticed, of course, that in many cases I’ve been asked

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Urban Statements

This past summer, St. Louis saw the opening of Citygarden, a shimmering downtown park filled with art, dynamic spaces and an array of waterfeatures executed by the fountain specialists at Hydro Dramatics.  Here, project manager Kerry Friedman guides us through design and development of the various systems, discussing the ways in which these watershapes are used to define both their surroundings and distinct recreation zones within the park.
This past summer, St. Louis saw the opening of Citygarden, a shimmering downtown park filled with art, dynamic spaces and an array of waterfeatures executed by the fountain specialists at Hydro Dramatics. Here, project manager Kerry Friedman guides us through design and development of the various systems, discussing the ways in which these watershapes are used to define both their surroundings and distinct recreation zones within the park.
By Kerry Friedman

It was no easy task:  We were called on to take the majestic landscape defined by the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers; use it as a template for an urban oasis filled with sculptures, plants and water; and develop a park that would mesh seamlessly with its surrounding urban spaces.

Furthermore, they wanted this park to appeal to every conceivable user – people of all ages, needs and backgrounds – while also serving as a catalyst for growth and a profound revival of the city’s core.  And not only was the space to carry that symbolic load, but it also had to function efficiently with long-term reliability.

We at Hydro Dramatics (St. Louis, Mo.) know from experience that projects of this scope and scale require much planning and coordination to go along with large measures of innovation.  We also know that these types of challenges make success that much sweeter.

So we jumped into the task with all our energy, supporting the design team charged with developing Citygarden, a 2.9-acre parcel to be filled with

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Tuning the Sound of Falling Water

By Scott Cohen

ScottCohenTuningSpillwaysIn creating waterfalls, some watershapers don’t seem to realize is that you can precisely control the sound the falling water makes as it descends from level to another.

My goal in paying attention to this detail is to take advantage of

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Recent comments

  • Guest - Gabe Rosica

    I'm working on a similar problem. From what you wrote, I'm not sure what you did. At first I thought you said you put stainless mesh just below the surface of the water in the catch basin. But I don't see how this would "alter the way the water reached the surfaces of the basins", since the screen i...
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Sound Stage

1-23 beard video artBy Randy Beard

Filling small courtyards and other compact spaces with the sounds of moving water is a valued service watershapers often perform for clients these days.  

A frequent approach in these cases involves installation of wall-mounted fountains in which water issues from a source set toward the top of the fixture and drops into a small basin from which the water is drawn and

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The Mysterious Leaking Fountain

By Scott Cohen

ScottCohenMysteryFountainThis lesson involves the performance of a simple but elegant aboveground fountain.

As is true of all watershapes, fountains need to be built in such a way that they reliably hold water and don’t leak. That’s an obvious given, of course, but water being the clever devil it is, if you miss

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Recent comments

  • Guest - Joel

    You have no idea how much this post helped me. I have a porcelain fountain that appeared to sporadically leak. I had placed one if the tubes from my drip system into to bowl to keep it filled. I've spent a lot if time and tried mutiple methods to seal the bowl. Then I found this post, removed the tu...
  • Guest - james

    hello, maybe you can help? my city has just completed a fountain project for our new $47 million dollar public park. when filled with water it leaks through the joints of the overlapping "pods" or trays of concrete. the construction firm has sealed, jackhammered and eventually removed and replac...
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