The idea of the garden fountain has its first records in the Ancient Middle East. There are diagrams of walls of ancient Egyptian tombs with pictures of fountains with in courtyards of homes. Usually they were rectangular in shape of a fish pond. The pictures showed rows of decorative and fruit bearing trees lining the edges. The Mesopotamian culture used garden fountains as prominent features for their gardens, creating a lush oasis in a harsh highland area. The fountain would irrigate precious shade trees, perfect for the hot summer sun!
The Persians influenced the development of water fountains through the enclosure of gardens and pools that feature architecture that was meant to imitate the heavens. These were the designs that inspired the famous Persian Carpet Gardens of today. Roman society found fountain a daily necessity, especially with their ritual of bathing. They promoted the tying of fountain to public baths. In the Middle East, the hot desert inspired the creation of desert oases, which then inspired the idea of the paradise gardens.
Natural Element: Water
Water is a part of nature; it is in every function of daily life. It gives life to the most stunning fountain of the world while pumping through the cells of our bodies. Water covers roughly two thirds of the earth surface, but only a small amount is fresh water. The water, covering the surface of the Earth, is a major player in the daily weather of the Earth. Humans also need water to live. Our bodies need water intake to survive, but our senses also love water. We admire the stunning fountain of flowing water, the naturally forming waterfalls, the soothing sounds of the ocean waves, and the myths and legends that surround water. Civilization, from the beginning of time, has tried to control and manipulate water for both decoration and necessity. Water has developed cities and villages, and guided the entire political and economic course of history!
Fountains are designed to harmonize between the practical and aesthetic needs of water. In the past fountains were designed with the practical purpose of creating a public place to fetch water or basic needs, but were also a place of beauty, to impress as they refreshed! Fountains, today, continue to serve as a symbiosis of social, symbolic, and artistic ideals. They help to add appeal to a given space, and revitalize people. The design and mastery of the water is what determines the success of the fountain, no matter what material the fountain is crafted from. Creating a stunning fountain and mastering the water display comes from spending time observing nature, understanding how hydraulics work, and basic artistic skills. The sounds of a water fountain are often a testament to the designers ability to create a dry statue and turn it into a wet and constantly changing work of art. Therefore, fountains that are meant to thrill and please the population are an overall understanding of the rise and fall of water, design, and hydraulics.
Nature's very own Fountains
Nature creates stunning fountains all on her own! For example, The Old Faithful Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park, shoots hot spring water, in huge columns, high into the sky, with periodic intervals every hour. These columns can reach heights of up to 180 feet tall. Even though they last only a few minutes, they are an exciting and dazzling display to behold! The Niagara Falls, one of the most visited landmarks in North America, yields unimaginable beauty and stunning power. These falls are an exciting and dramatic site, enjoyed by all who visit. Water does not flow in the same pattern, but is constantly changing form and and creating a range of sounds and patterns. This is what fountain designers strive to accomplish. They manipulate the water to make it form different sized droplets that sparkle, or make water droplets join together to create a single fall that forms different shapes as it free falls. The key is that these technical details fade when faced with a well designed and functional fountain. The beauty then comes from the simple joy of the soothing water as it relaxes and soothes the soul! Continued onto page 2.