WaterShapes

The web site for all professionals and consumers who've made or want to make water a part of their lives

Sailing Grace

Challenged to develop a sculpture that would make a strong statement about the commissioning company’s expertise in engineering and motion-control technology, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Bererzowsky of Montreal’s SWON Design delivered a work of subtle beauty to an otherwise stark architectural context.  Here’s a close look at the resulting medley of textured glass, sheeting water, gleaming steel and arcing jets, all set within curving ponds.
Challenged to develop a sculpture that would make a strong statement about the commissioning company’s expertise in engineering and motion-control technology, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Bererzowsky of Montreal’s SWON Design delivered a work of subtle beauty to an otherwise stark architectural context. Here’s a close look at the resulting medley of textured glass, sheeting water, gleaming steel and arcing jets, all set within curving ponds.
By Michael Batchelor & Andrey Berezowsky

Challenged to develop a sculpture that would make a strong statement about the commissioning company’s expertise in engineering and motion-control technology, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Bererzowsky of Montreal’s SWON Design delivered a work of subtle beauty to an otherwise stark architectural context.  Here’s a close look at the resulting medley of textured glass, sheeting water, gleaming steel and arcing jets, all set within curving ponds.    

With residential projects, the importance of understanding the character and focus of the client is widely recognized and appreciated.  Although the scales are different and the “clients” may be committees, we’ve discovered that the same is basically true with commercial projects as well.  

A case in point is this project, which we completed for Parker Hannifin, the Mayfield, Ohio-based manufacturer of engineering components and a multi-billion-dollar company whose products are found on everything from Space Shuttles to precision industrial machinery.  Appropriately, the sculpture we were asked to design was to reflect a highly refined, disciplined sense of beauty.

We at SWON Design were first contacted by an independent marketing consultant, Karen Skunta, who was participating in the company’s effort to re-brand itself – a program that, in part, included

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Welcoming Waters

The restoration of the private lake pictured in this article offered watershaper George Forni a set of challenges that ranged from completely recasting the lake’s structure, filtration and circulation system to devising a variety of design features aimed at bringing both fine aesthetics and ample family fun to the setting.  The result, he says, is a project that was unusually comprehensive in scope and unfailingly remarkable in execution.
The restoration of the private lake pictured in this article offered watershaper George Forni a set of challenges that ranged from completely recasting the lake’s structure, filtration and circulation system to devising a variety of design features aimed at bringing both fine aesthetics and ample family fun to the setting. The result, he says, is a project that was unusually comprehensive in scope and unfailingly remarkable in execution.
By George Forni

Every so often, a project comes along that evolves as it rolls along, and what starts out as one set of tasks and parameters morphs to become something entirely different before it’s through.  

That was certainly the case on this residential-lake project:  Located in the hills above Napa Valley, Calif., the job put us in touch with affluent, intelligent, fun-loving clients who had initially contacted us about the straightforward restoration of a dying lake located at the base of a ravine beset with unchecked plant growth and rattlesnakes.  

None of that was new to us:  We

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An Edge of Honor

It unfolds as a serene and inspiring space, as a solemn and symbolic tribute to self-sacrifice and the anguish of war:  The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Worcester’s Green Hill Park had been a labor of love and devotion for decades by the time it was completed and dedicated in 2002, say the project’s principal landscape architects/environmental designers, and proved to be worth every bit of the effort required to make it happen.
It unfolds as a serene and inspiring space, as a solemn and symbolic tribute to self-sacrifice and the anguish of war: The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Worcester’s Green Hill Park had been a labor of love and devotion for decades by the time it was completed and dedicated in 2002, say the project’s principal landscape architects/environmental designers, and proved to be worth every bit of the effort required to make it happen.
By Johannes H. Wagner & Eugene R. Bolinger

The site was chosen because the existing water, terrain and natural landscape were a perfect fit:  Like no other available space, the design team saw that this setting could be used to symbolize the character of Vietnam’s landscape –  wetlands and bogs, water crossings, hills and forests, meadows and plains – and shaped into a memorial to casualties of a war that ended in Southeast Asia nearly three decades ago.

It’s a beautiful and peaceful space, one that now encompasses four acres of land around the perimeter of Duck Pond, a small and scenic body of water nestled in the gently rolling landscape of

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Liquid Mettle

4-24 afflect platinumBy Rafe Affleck

From the beginning of my career as a sculptor, I’ve mostly given myself over to two simple elements – metal and water – and have tried to develop approaches that turn one into an extension of the other.

I like the sense that a sheet of flowing water completes the simple stainless steel shapes I create.  I also like to play with illusion by creating the impression that

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Shining Through

Cast acrylic and water are a great match, says Nate Reynolds of Reynolds Polymer Technology.  Indeed, since the company started in the 1970s, most of its projects have been about containing large amounts of water while providing clear viewing for high-volume aquariums, display pools and other watershapes.  Here, Reynolds guides us through some of the firm’s most ambitious installations while discussing what it takes to design with acrylic.
Cast acrylic and water are a great match, says Nate Reynolds of Reynolds Polymer Technology. Indeed, since the company started in the 1970s, most of its projects have been about containing large amounts of water while providing clear viewing for high-volume aquariums, display pools and other watershapes. Here, Reynolds guides us through some of the firm’s most ambitious installations while discussing what it takes to design with acrylic.

 By Nate Reynolds

When you ask people about transparent building materials, most people immediately think of glass.  

Glass is certainly stronger than most people realize, but it has never been an ideal structural material because of its weight, brittleness and structural limitations.  With our acrylic products, by contrast, architects and other designers have found a material with which they can create substantial transparent structures that are much lighter and more versatile than those made with glass – and with a structural strength more than double that of concrete.  

R-Cast acrylic (as we call it) is indeed an amazing material:  Its uses span from the obvious pools, fountains or aquariums to awesome signage and seemingly impossible structures and lighting (to mention a few possibilities).  Its combination of optical clarity with safety, strength, flexibility and UV resistance has allowed an increasing numbers of designers across a range of disciplines to embrace the material as never before.  

There are several firms that provide acrylic materials to the construction marketplace, with

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Awakening a Dream

Certainly one of the world’s most unusual watershaping achievements, ‘Le Reve’ is a Las Vegas-style aquatic production that carries audiences into an amazing dream world of water, light, music and incredible acrobatic skill.  To achieve the water effects, former Cirque du Soleil producer Franco Dragone turned to Aviram Müller and Canada’s Kaarajal Design Aquatique – and the result is a marriage of watershaping art and technology unlike any other.
Certainly one of the world’s most unusual watershaping achievements, ‘Le Reve’ is a Las Vegas-style aquatic production that carries audiences into an amazing dream world of water, light, music and incredible acrobatic skill. To achieve the water effects, former Cirque du Soleil producer Franco Dragone turned to Aviram Müller and Canada’s Kaarajal Design Aquatique – and the result is a marriage of watershaping art and technology unlike any other.
By Aviram Müller

Certainly one of the world’s most unusual watershaping achievements, ‘Le Reve’ is a Las Vegas-style aquatic production that carries audiences into an amazing dream world of water, light, music and incredible acrobatic skill.  To achieve the water effects, former Cirque du Soleil producer Franco Dragone turned to Aviram Müller and Canada’s Kaarajal Design Aquatique – and the result is a marriage of watershaping art and technology unlike any other.

Franco Dragone’s design team first contacted me late in 2003.  His company, which organizes groups of design firms to create some of the world’s most elaborate stage productions, was working on a new Las Vegas extravaganza for hotelier Steve Wynn.

Wynn’s properties are famous for their water effects, including the wonderful fountains in front of Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.  I was told that his then-current project, the Wynn Resort, was to feature similarly spectacular water elements – one of which was to be

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Mile-High Gallop

By Jim Morris

11-21 morris platinum art 2 -- smallIt’s not every day you get the chance to work on a project that’s going to be seen around the world by millions of people for decades to come.

That was exactly the opportunity that came our way in October 1999, when we were asked by the Denver Broncos to construct an elaborate waterfeature at Invesco Field at Mile High, a brand-new stadium that

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Making Water Dance

By Randy Beard

These days, clients who’ve been out to see a bit of the world come at designers and builders with all sorts of interesting ideas and requests.  For the most part, they’ve seen something they or their children really like and want to get an appropriately scaled version of the same sort of water effect as part of their own backyard resorts.

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Liquid Glass

By John Gilbert Luebtow

11-21 luebtow essential art -- smallAs a designer and artist, I believe that water and glass walk hand in hand: Both are transparent and translucent. They distort and reflect surrounding colors and forms. And depending upon whom you ask, water and glass are both liquids.

The visual and physical resonance between these two fascinating materials is important to me: I know that their interplay adds

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What Happened to Beijing's 'Water Cube' Aquatics Center?

BeijingWaterCubeArticle: Learn more about the Beijing National Aquatics Center (the “Water Cube”) from Wikipedia. Click here.

Video: Watch a CNN interview with

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Suburban Spaces

By Mehrnoosh

8-22 mehrnoosh artYou really can find opportunities in unexpected places, insists Mehrnoosh, a Los Angeles architect and designer who enjoys making refined aesthetic statements in previously plain suburban environments. To illustrate her point, she takes us to a project in a modest neighborhood to define how simple architectural and landscape elements – and water – can bring elegance and tranquility to otherwise overlooked and underappreciated spaces.

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Capture Rainwater to Help the Planet

AquascapeRainwaterIn addition to the aforementioned benefits from harvesting rainwater, Aquascape points out the following:

“According to the EPA, storm water runoff is one of the main reasons

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Refreshing the Supply

In January 2008, southern California’s Orange County Water District unveiled its Groundwater Replenishment System, a treatment and reuse facility dedicated to producing water to resupply the county’s beleaguered groundwater reserves.  A year later, Eric Herman toured the facility, getting a behind-the-scenes look at a thought-provoking system that is setting new standards for water treatment, management and use.
In January 2008, southern California’s Orange County Water District unveiled its Groundwater Replenishment System, a treatment and reuse facility dedicated to producing water to resupply the county’s beleaguered groundwater reserves. A year later, Eric Herman toured the facility, getting a behind-the-scenes look at a thought-provoking system that is setting new standards for water treatment, management and use.
By Eric Herman

In January 2008, southern California’s Orange County Water District unveiled its Groundwater Replenishment System, a treatment and reuse facility dedicated to producing water to resupply the county’s beleaguered groundwater reserves.  A year later, Eric Herman toured the facility, getting a behind-the-scenes look at a thought-provoking system that is setting new standards for water treatment, management and use.

While I was preparing our “True Green” issue for publication last summer, a friend invited me to tour the Groundwater Replenishment System, an advanced, 70-million-gallon-per-day water-purification facility located in Fountain Valley, Calif.  The invitation to visit this joint project of the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District came through

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