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Contemporary artist Eric Orr and his protégé, Sean So, both use the flow of water to lend texture and bring distinction to basic, geometric forms. For them, these small flows embody ‘transformation,’ which stands as the ideological core of the Light and Space Movement they both represent. Here, So explains the tradition and creative essence of the movement and brings it into perspective as part of today’s commercial waterfeature market.
Contemporary artist Eric Orr and his protégé, Sean So, both use the flow of water to lend texture and bring distinction to basic, geometric forms.  For them, these small flows embody ‘transformation,’ which stands as the ideological core of the Light and Space Movement they both represent.  Here, So explains the tradition and creative essence of the movement and brings it into perspective as part of today’s commercial waterfeature market.
By Sean So

The Light and Space Movement first emerged in the beachfront community of Venice, Calif., during the 1960s, when a group of artists collectively began to explore and redefine the way art was observed and appreciated.  

Leaders of the movement – painter and sculptor Eric Orr; Robert Irwin, who later designed the gardens at the Getty Center in Los Angeles; and environmental artist James Turrell – started by breaking down the transformative processes of art and minimalism, defining the character of their movement through

There’s much more to a birdbath than one might think, says Bill Fintel, an expert in the art of setting up small bodies of water to attract our feathered friends. For many years, in fact, Fintel has studied the way birds act around water and has made a career of applying what he knows to creating avian watershapes that have what it takes to satisfy a winged clientele – and delight homeowners who are passionate about their backyard ornithology.
There’s much more to a birdbath than one might think, says Bill Fintel, an expert in the art of setting up small bodies of water to attract our feathered friends.  For many years, in fact, Fintel has studied the way birds act around water and has made a career of applying what he knows to creating avian watershapes that have what it takes to satisfy a winged clientele – and delight homeowners who are passionate about their backyard ornithology.
By Bill Fintel

Just as few sounds blend so beautifully or evoke such sensations of peace and calm as the sweet tones of birds singing along with the relaxing music of moving water, I’d also have to say that few sights in nature delight the eye more than watching migrating robins queuing up for a bath, hummingbirds darting through a mist or a bold vireo “plunge bathing” in a rippling pool.

For most of my life, I’ve been inspired to observe the beauty and freedom of birds and am among those who have spent hours in the wild hoping to catch a glimpse of a

Made with fallen trees or driftwood, the vertical forms sculpted by Steve Kuntz evoke the classic totem poles of the Pacific Northwest, but they are eerily modern just the same. This is particularly true in those cases where he includes running water as part of the composition, turning his sculptures into watershapes that explore the special relationship between wood and water in ways that are both soothing and surprising.
Made with fallen trees or driftwood, the vertical forms sculpted by Steve Kuntz evoke the classic totem poles of the Pacific Northwest, but they are eerily modern just the same.  This is particularly true in those cases where he includes running water as part of the composition, turning his sculptures into watershapes that explore the special relationship between wood and water in ways that are both soothing and surprising.
By Steve Kuntz

The fire came swiftly, sweeping through the dry, late-summer undergrowth, and the land was quickly blackened and denuded.  A month later, the rains came, hard and lashing, and rivulets of water ran down the hillside.  Torrents of mud and stone ground away the soil and washed out the base of a tree that happened to be in the way.

The tree fell.  Branches became splinters on the ground.  The noise the tree had made as it fell was intense:  a cracking and groaning sound followed by crackles as limbs snapped against still-standing trees.  Now it lay there, its roots all but pulled from the ground.

Ten years passed, and as the tree’s bark rotted, small saplings had begun to grow from its base.  The creek ran close by, gurgling and never-ending, its water wending its way among the rocks and other fallen trees toward the ocean just half a mile away.  This tree would serve a purpose in its death:  In my work as a sculptor, I seek out

Watershapes intended to teach children (and their adult companions) about basic forces of nature stand at the heart of an innovative landscape program on the campus of the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt. As designed by Boston’s Copley Wolff Design Group, the grounds around the museum now features an array of unique water effects that are beautiful, entertaining, informative and delightful.
Watershapes intended to teach children (and their adult companions) about basic forces of nature stand at the heart of an innovative landscape program on the campus of the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt.  As designed by Boston’s Copley Wolff Design Group, the grounds around the museum now features an array of unique water effects that are beautiful, entertaining, informative and delightful.
By Jane Shoplick

Teaching children about the science associated with the natural elements of earth, air, light and water in an imaginative, fun and engaging way is one of the key missions of modern museums of science.  Conveying those concepts through a landscape, however, is a unique and ambitious goal – one we suggested to the directors of Montshire Museum of Science of Norwich, Vt., as a way of transforming the museum’s grounds from ordinary exhibit space into a true laboratory for learning.  

During all of the early discussions of types of natural phenomena Montshire wanted us to explore, museum representatives always seemed most excited about those associated with water.  They agreed with us that water exhibits could teach children about wonders as diverse as stream erosion and deposition, the reflection and absorption of light, how the pattern of water currents and flow velocities are affected by the size and shape of the water’s container, how the pressure of water increases as its depth increases, and how the air temperature cools as one

Clean, clear water is crucial for most watershapes, but when the vessel’s purpose is to house and nurture rescued and injured marine animals, says Pentair’s Mike Fowler, the need for top-quality water is even greater. Here, he describes how his company’s pool filters came to be used at an animal rehabilitation facility in Florida, where they now ensure that dolphins, sea turtles and more are nursed back to health and trained in crystalline water.
Clean, clear water is crucial for most watershapes, but when the vessel’s purpose is to house and nurture rescued and injured marine animals, says Pentair’s Mike Fowler, the need for top-quality water is even greater.  Here, he describes how his company’s pool filters came to be used at an animal rehabilitation facility in Florida, where they now ensure that dolphins, sea turtles and more are nursed back to health and trained in crystalline water.
By Mike Fowler

It was a rainy Wednesday morning in January when I first toured the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I was on hand to inspect the recent installation of a pair of our horizontal sand filters for the facility’s marine-mammal pool and see just how well the pool-filtration products were faring in this somewhat unusual (but not unheard of) application.  

Located on Island Estates in Clearwater, Fla., the aquarium was bustling with activity from the moment the doors opened at 9 a.m.  On this day, a group of pre-school children had arrived to see the aquarium’s newest dolphin, Presley, and his friend, Panama.  The staff also explained to me that the aquarium, like other indoor attractions, is always busier when the rain falls.  I joined right in with the crowd, fascinated by everything I was seeing.

My guide, the aquarium’s director of life support and marine facilities, Bill Meier, led me to the marine mammal pool – currently home to Presley and Panama but with the capacity to hold several more.  This was the vessel on which my company, Pentair Pool Products of Sanford, N.C., had installed the sand filters.  As I watched the children’s faces as they in turn watched the dolphins, I began to realize that we were

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041224Friedman_24A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Kerry Friedman & Mike Perkowski
HydroDramtics
St. Louis, Mo.

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Site of the 1904 World’s Fair, Forest Park in St. Louis boasts a number of historic features, among them the newly restored Grand Basin.  Essentially a lake ringed with fountains, the facility is a favorite of visitors who take to the water in small boats.  The restoration work performed by fountain specialists at HydroDramatics was sensitive to the original aesthetics of the facility, but the technology they applied – mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and structural – was strictly up to the minute.

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041222Kaiser_22A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.


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Steve Kaiser
Kerzner International
Nassau, Bahamas

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The resort known as Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas unveils one of the planet’s most extensive and ambitious uses of water in a recreational setting.  Encompassing multiple swimming pools, waterslides, fountains and immense marine exhibits, the project was six years in the making and involved an international team of designers and technicians.  And as project manager Steve Kaiser reports, they aren’t finished yet:  The next phase will include even more elaborate watershapes and amenities.

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004124Luebtow_4A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

 

 

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John Luebtow
Chatsworth, Calif.

 

 

Sculptor John Luebtow is well known for working in slumped, etched-glass panels and shimmering steel.  This piece, commissioned as part of a backyard revision that also featured an artful pool and spa, includes three glass panels that echo and reflect forms used in the watershapes.  The curved glass distorts and interprets the surrounding views and greenery as visitors move through the space, and the entire sculpture is reflected from below by its own perimeter-overflow, black-granite pool.

The process of creating watershapes and landscapes is more than a simple exercise in orchestrating aesthetics, say rock designer Philip di Giacomo and watershaper Mark Holden. To these like-minded professionals, the purpose of their art is to conjure overt and subliminal perceptions in the hearts and minds of those who move through the spaces they establish – an ambition that lets their work influence not only individuals, but society at large.
The process of creating watershapes and landscapes is more than a simple exercise in orchestrating aesthetics, say rock designer Philip di Giacomo and watershaper Mark Holden.  To these like-minded professionals, the purpose of their art is to conjure overt and subliminal perceptions in the hearts and minds of those who move through the spaces they establish – an ambition that lets their work influence not only individuals, but society at large.
By Philip di Giacomo & Mark Holden

To those who see art as frivolous and ultimately unnecessary and expendable, we offer as a counterweight the following from Austrian poet, Ernst Fisher:  “Art is a driving force in bringing humankind to greater quality of life, and it is therefore an absolute cultural necessity.”

For the artist, tremendous responsibility comes with that necessity.  Indeed, those who expose others to art bear a burden in shaping entire cultures as people around them come to accept their artistic output as essential threads in the social fabric.  Think of Brunelleschi in Renaissance Florence, for example, or Gaudi in modern Barcelona.

When we as watershape or landscape designers seek to expose others to our works of art, we accept a profound moral responsibility whether we work in the public or the private domain.  At its core, our responsibility is to seek and communicate truth.  As we see it, one and all who fall under the broad umbrella of the watershaping arts should be

The watershapes that literally embrace the McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden, Utah, were crucial to the success of the facility’s self-consciously relaxing, curative environment, says Derk Hebdon, president of Salt Lake City’s Bratt Water Features. Highlighted by a 65-foot water plume and a soothing, 170-foot-wide sheet waterfall, the complex was designed with the needs of patients, visitors, staff and the community very much in mind.
The watershapes that literally embrace the McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden, Utah, were crucial to the success of the facility’s self-consciously relaxing, curative environment, says Derk Hebdon, president of Salt Lake City’s Bratt Water Features.  Highlighted by a 65-foot water plume and a soothing, 170-foot-wide sheet waterfall, the complex was designed with the needs of patients, visitors, staff and the community very much in mind.
By Derk Hebdon

Built to function and compete in an era when marketing matters for healthcare facilities, the McKay-Dee Hospital Center was designed to create a soothing, supportive, healing environment for patients, visitors and staff – so much so that the center looks more like a resort hotel than a medical institution.  

The architecture is open and soaring, offering sweeping views from interior spaces set up for comfort and restfulness.  Designed by Jeff Stouffler of HKS Architects of Dallas, the structure is organized around a four-story atrium that runs the length of the building, offering clear lines of sight not only to distant mountain and valley views, but also to nearby landscapes graced with winding paths and beautiful watershapes.  

The opening of the 690,000-square-foot facility on March 25, 2002, was accompanied by great public fanfare.  As people in the community have embraced and begun to seek care there, it’s been a point of pride for us at Bratt Water Features to know that the beautiful curving lake that wraps around the exterior of the gleaming building is one of the things people see, enjoy and appreciate the most.

BROAD SCOPE

Our job was to build all of watershapes, including seven small fountains and the big lake system, based on designs prepared by Waterscape Consultants of Houston and by landscape architect James Burnett, also of Houston.  As bidders on the installation contract in 1999, we had the advantage of being a local firm – but we also brought extensive experience with large-scale public waterfeatures to the table.

And this project was big.  As far as anyone on the design team knows, this is the largest waterfeature/fountain complex ever built in the state of Utah.  We refer affectionately to the feature as “Bullwinkle” because, when seen from overhead, its oddly symmetrical free-form shape casts a silhouette resembling the cartoon moose’s head and antlers.  

The antlers wrap around the footprint of the west end of the building, with the nose stretching away from hospital to create a broad lake with a towering geyser at the far end.  The 175-foot-wide, 500-foot-long watershape features a 170-foot-long waterfall between the antlers and the crown of Bullwinkle’s head that faces an outdoor pavilion/eating area served by an indoor café.

The water falls four feet into a teardrop-shaped lower pond that serves as a catch basin – and which turned out to be critical to

Fascinated by floating islands, author and natural historian Chet Van Duzer sees them as a special window into the relationships among water, earth, flora, fauna and even humankind. As he explains here, these buoyant masses, which are largely unfamiliar even to those who study nature and the geological, biological and hydrological sciences, offer a laboratory full of ideas to watershapers interested in replicating truly natural water systems. (Photo: Postcard of floating islands in Orange Lake, Fla., from the author’s collection)
Fascinated by floating islands, author and natural historian Chet Van Duzer sees them as a special window into the relationships among water, earth, flora, fauna and even humankind.  As he explains here, these buoyant masses, which are largely unfamiliar even to those who study nature and the geological, biological and hydrological sciences, offer a laboratory full of ideas to watershapers interested in replicating truly natural water systems.  (Photo:  Postcard of floating islands in Orange Lake, Fla., from the author’s collection)
By Chet Van Duzer

The very existence of floating islands seems counterintuitive.  Are there really chunks of earth solid enough to support our weight while drifting over the surface of a body of water?  Can these floating masses even support the weight of trees, animals or even human dwellings?

The fact is that floating islands do exist on six of the seven continents and sometimes on the oceans between.  Some do have trees growing on them and do support the weight of humans (and even grazing cattle).  Some are, in fact, hundreds of feet across and are called “home” by their inhabitants.  

These naturally occurring, waterborne vessels embody a fascinating subset of natural observation and are generally unknown – even though they

The brand-new Wynn Hotel on the storied Las Vegas Strip encompasses a range of elaborate watershapes – lakes, fountains, a rock-waterfall mountain and a host of pools and spas – as well as multiple rooftop environments. In all cases, the reliability of waterproofing systems was of crucial importance, notes Tim Eorgan of Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing, the firm charged with providing damage-preventive solutions for the city’s newest crown jewel. (Photo by Robert Miller/Wynn Las Vegas)
The brand-new Wynn Hotel on the storied Las Vegas Strip encompasses a range of elaborate watershapes – lakes, fountains, a rock-waterfall mountain and a host of pools and spas – as well as multiple rooftop environments.  In all cases, the reliability of waterproofing systems was of crucial importance, notes Tim Eorgan of Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing, the firm charged with providing damage-preventive solutions for the city’s newest crown jewel.  (Photo by Robert Miller/Wynn Las Vegas)
By Tim Eorgan

The latest generation of Las Vegas hotels and casinos offers an amazing showcase for pools, fountains and watershapes of every shape and size.  In fact, for many such properties, the presence of these increasingly imaginative watershapes is crucial to defining their appeal for huge numbers of guests and visitors.

As these properties and their watershapes have become more elaborate and unconventional, they’ve presented designers, engineers and builders with greater and greater technical challenges – many of them carried in the plain fact that water can inflict a great deal of damage on these facilities if it is not properly contained and controlled.  

In our end of the watershaping trades, the visual and sensory arms race has challenged the waterproofing industry to step up to the plate and manage the integrity of every nook and cranny of every vessel, be it wide or narrow, curved or straight, below-grade or

Exploring the synergy among glass, light and water is what SWON Design is all about. From their roots as glass blowers and neon artists, the firm’s founders, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Berezowsky, have branched out to create elaborate, vivid sculptures for architectural and landscape settings that reflect their interest in developing shapes, colors and textures that both complement and accentuate the surroundings in which they appear.
Exploring the synergy among glass, light and water is what SWON Design is all about.  From their roots as glass blowers and neon artists, the firm’s founders, Michael Batchelor and Andrey Berezowsky, have branched out to create elaborate, vivid sculptures for architectural and landscape settings that reflect their interest in developing shapes, colors and textures that both complement and accentuate the surroundings in which they appear.
By Michael Batchelor & Andrey Berezowsky

All artists and designers have to come from somewhere, creatively speaking.  In our case, we came to watershaping via the world of glass arts and crafts, a starting place that led us first to create unusual sculptures in glass and light – and then to carry our work out into landscapes and especially into settings that feature water.

In collaborating mostly with architects and landscape architects and designers, we at SWON Design in Montreal have found what we believe to be an incredibly rich vein of aesthetic potential.  Indeed, we have come through the years to recognize with greater and greater profundity that water

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