Today most people still define a fountain as a construction which includes the presence of water. The water may be retained in a basin or be present in a flow through channel. We design fountains with water jets or only with water mirrors. We design "dry fountains" (without visible basins) with various water effects, jets, mist etc. We design waterfalls and cascades. Furthermore, since the development of LEDs we often design illuminations in numerous fountains.
At least since the antic period, fountains are built in Europe, in North Africa, and certainly in most civilizations. Fountains are useful for water supply of humans and animals. They are also architectural elements and they complement the sculptural works. They represent aesthetic symbols, art, abundance, wealth, the participation in national influence, architectural heritages, as is the case of the fountains of Versailles, where the classical architecture come from the admiration of antiquity where the fountains was founded.
Until the twentieth century, the fountains are objects apart, separable landscape, and in most cases they are only sources or art installations that are sometimes pompous and which are not always of high quality.
In notable buildings, the great contemporary architects often use ponds or waterfalls, as a reflective surface (water mirror), as an element that strengthens or participates in the overall aesthetics of the object buildings (Cité de la Musique in Boulogne Billancourt architect Shigeru Ban, Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris by architect Frank Gehry, Lucerne Opera Jean Nouvel).
what are the fountains today ?
Why build fountains today, especially in the public space, since water sources are abundant and easy to access, and that the architectural sculptures are rarely connected to the fountains ?
Our design approach of contemporary water features
Today, it remains to the water feature designer its material: water. It is always symbolically and materially a source of well-being, pleasure, including due to the sounds to these movements. Water is a source of joy. Its presence makes that a fountain brings something pleasant.
We work on the question of water representation in the landscape.
Today, our feeling is that the water feature designer must work with the landscape architect to design facilities that are integrated into the landscape in every season, even when the fountain is out of service as in winter.
The surface of the fountain, multi-purpose, can be the place for other uses when it is on the winter shutdown. These uses may be events, sculptural installations.... The fountain can blend into the landscape and sometime disappear.
In our view, the primary function of a contemporary fountain is to give joy, by dynamic water effects, mirror effects, misting by illuminations, sounds etc.
The dry fountains without basins have known a real success with their innovative aspects and the opportunity given to users, and first to the children to touch the water, practice a form of bathing. In part of our creations, we want to develop this play, bathing, leisure, giving people a water experience, even in the downtowns.
Today, when the environment and the architectural project permit it, the fountains can really enhance the heritage value as seen in regard to the water mirror of the Promenade du Paillon in Nice, Bordeaux Place de la Bourse or in Nantes Square Mercoeur.
Moreover, with the development of our sensitivity to ecology, and the need for bathing, particularly in large urban centers, the water feature designer propose the development of chlorine-free pools, with mechanical treatment, with UV and biological water treatment. The urban biological swimming’s are rare, partly because of the health risks that scare the designers likely to propose these projects.
However, today we are capable to design biological swimming’s. This is interesting because their cost is really lower than a classical swimming pool.