Klipsch Manufactures Outdoor Speakers
Klipsch (Hope, Ariz.) makes its AW-650 outdoor speaker for poolside and other outdoor settings. The…
2019/4.2, April 17 — Gem State Fountain, Pond Assistance, San Diego Miscue and more
2018/7.2, July 25 — A Special Edition — WaterShapes’ Overlooked Gems!
Shall We Dance?
Picture this: A seaside fountain in which jets of water are arrayed and programed to emulate a Pacific Ocean swell. It's designed as a mirror to existing conditions, using real-time ocean-observation data to determine the exact timing and height of the fountain's jet sequence. Or this: An installation scheduled by its managers to function as an interactive-play fountain at certain times of the day when children are likeliest to be present, or as a musical/performing fountain in the evenings or at other times when the property owner's desire is to entertain and help people relax. Or this: A fountain that
Mystical Moments
For me, one of the highlights of the 20th Anniversary Celebration for Genesis was the place most of us stayed:  The Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a spectacular facility created as an extension of the imagination of the property's owner, Douglas Ayres. The hotel embodies an eclectic blend of design concepts, from dashes of feng shui to dollops of talk-to-the-land spiritualism mixed in with
Simple Mastery
When I wrote about Lawrence Halprin's Keller Fountain in Portland, Ore., in August 2012, I had meant to cover its Portland cousin, the Lovejoy Fountain, within a few months that have now turned into several years. Apologies for failing to double back sooner, because they really do fit together better than this span of time would suggest. Lovejoy Plaza was the first completed installation in what is now known as the Portland Open Space Sequence, which includes four separate urban environments linked by promenades in a span covering eight blocks. Physically, Lovejoy Plaza is the second of the four spaces in the chain, which starts with the Source Fountain, moves past the Lovejoy Fountain, rolls through Pettygrove Park and ends up at the Keller Fountain. Halprin was a pioneering advocate for this sequenced, themed approach to arranging urban spaces, and the fact that he became involved in Portland at a time of 1960s-style urban redevelopment gave him the opportunity to exercise his philosophy on a grand scale - and, more important, with a relatively clean slate. The Lovejoy Fountain is a beautiful example of Halprin's aquatic work - varied elevations, expressive materials, dramatic contours, vigorous flows, wonderful sound. He's a master of mood management, in this case surrounding the fountain's rougher edges with plants and trees that soften its visual features and make the plaza more inviting. He's also a master of the art of engagement, providing all sorts of ways for passersby to get up close to the water and interact with it on multiple levels (this despite the fact that there are signs warning against coming in contact with it). In this case as with several of his other designs, the Lovejoy Fountain is also a brilliant performance space - no surprise given Halprin's frequent collaborations with his wife, Anna, an accomplished performer who certainly encouraged him to look at public spaces as stages for dancers, backdrops for musicians and places for playful movement around the water. (One of the videos linked below put the fountain's artistic flexibility on brilliant display.) The four spaces were designed between 1963 and 1970, with Lovejoy Plaza completed first, in 1966. Satoru Nishita served as partner-in-charge for the project after becoming a principal at Lawrence Halprin + Associates in 1964. I like everything about this fountain, from its approachability to its reflection of nature and its debt to terrain I know well from my own time spent exploring the Columbia River Valley and the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges. It's manifestly a composed, artificial space, but it operates on a level where, like a great abstract painting, it gives observers the chance to run free with their own interpretations and responses. If you can't tell by now, I'm a big fan of Mr. Halprin's work. The next time you're in the Great Northwest, spend an afternoon in downtown Portland and I think you'll see why. To see an odd 360-degree video of the Lovejoy Fountain, click here and be sure to use the effect. It takes a while to get down to business, but it's worth the wait. To see a video in which Lovejoy Fountain host an interactive art project, click here.
The Unheard Music
The watershape was way off any path I'd ever beaten around New Orleans: It sits north of downtown along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, and I was genuinely surprised to make its acquaintance. This was back in November 2016, when my wife and I were heading with my brother and his wife to their home in Mississippi after my work at International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo drew to a close. We rolled up West End Boulevard to where it turned into Lakeshore Drive, figuring we'd move along the waterfront until we could conveniently jump over to Interstate 10 and leave the Crescent City behind. But soon after we made the right-hand turn along the water, I spotted a fountain and made us stop: We'd essentially tripped over the Mardi Gras Fountain, which I'd never heard of before, and paused briefly to give it a look. It reminded me immediately of the fountain in the Plaza de España (click here), which I'd seen many times through the years while walking along the Mississippi River toward the convention center. Both installations feature lots of tile plaques, but I found those associated with the Mardi Gras Fountain to be much more interesting because they colorfully memorialize the various carnival krewes that participate in local parades and various other Mardi Gras festivities. I was a big fan of the HBO series Treme and saw a unique part of New Orleans heritage coming to life before my eyes. The fountain itself, however, wasn't all I might have hoped. Yes, the water danced with gusto, with clusters of jets sending water to various heights in a varied array of patterns. But if ever a themed fountain called for music, this one is it: While the jets conjured some of the visual magic of a New Orleans parade, without sound (other than the watery kind) it all fell a bit flat for me. Since returning to California, I've read up on the Mardi Gras Fountain and have come to appreciate its unusual history. First dedicated in 1962, it was designed by Blaine Kern in association with a local architecture firm. Kern was no fountain guy: He was a Mardi Gras float designer who came back from a trip to Europe filled with impressions of great fountains and started a personal crusade to get one built in New Orleans. The original fountain came in with a modest outlay of $42,000, including 70 tiled plaques set like teeth around the basin. The fountain shot water 30 feet into the air, and on warm summer evenings, all lit up, it drew substantial crowds to water shows. But by the 1990s, the watershape had fallen on hard times and was decommissioned. In May 2005, the fountain was treated to a $2.5 million restoration, with new electrical and mechanical systems to go along with new paving and landscaping. Hurricane Katrina massively abused both the fountain and its park just a few months later, and it was 2013 before another hefty infusion of cash brought the space back to life with a new set of upgrades and a bunch of new tile plaques. Knowing what I now know about the fountain and its story, I'm more inclined to be charitable about its musical shortcomings and accept it on its own considerable merits. It has its shortcomings, in other words, but I appreciate it for what it is - a wonderful, personal celebration of New Orleans' Mardi Gras heritage and generations of urban (and urbane) entertainment. Bottom line: The fountain's fine. As for the plaques, they're cool beyond belief. For a video of the fountain after dark, click here.
2017/10.2, October 18 — Mansion Memories, Lighting Dynamics, Fountain Miscue and more
Just Awesome
To say that I've avidly followed the just-completed process of restoring and renovating the Main Fountain Garden at Longwood Gardens is putting it mildly:  This water display has been part of my life since I was ten years old, and I'm proud to say that it's responsible both for my profound interest in water in motion and in some ways for my being a professional watershaper today. So it makes sense that I was there at Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, Pa.) on May 27, 2017, when the fountain
First Impressions
Projects in significant public spaces are rewarding on many levels, but they also carry their fair share of challenges, mostly in the forms of scheduling, coordination and communication. For us at Crystal Fountains (Concord, Ontario, Canada), these hurdles are beyond familiar:  For decades, we've been a go-to working partner for fountain and interactive waterfeature projects around the world, from the Crown Fountain