The original fountain was the brainchild of Philip Johnson, the timeless romantic image using the beguiling nonessential effect that water in architecture has always been. Water as the aesthetic extra; Before the Lincoln center fountain, Johnson had installed a 120-foot jet d’eau on his own property, for his own pleasure, and then in a grand siecle tradition planned a decorative pavilion beneath the spray.
( see link at end) …When New York’s Lincoln Center opened in 1964, the columns of water bubbling from its center were the most technically-advanced water features known to man, controlled by “computer-programmed tapes” and able to propel a six-foot wide wall of water into the air. Fifty years later, the fountain began to falter, yet “liquid architecture” had since evolved beyond our wildest (wettest?) dreams, mostly thanks to one Mark Fuller, and his company WET. So it was a natural choice for the folks behind Lincoln Center’s fountain facelift to tap the man who revolutionized the way we interact with water….
… John Seabrook explores the fountain’s revamp and Fuller’s aquatic genius, beginning with an early trip to Disneyland that encouraged the construction of his own “jungle cruise” in his Salt Lake City backyard (precariously mixing water and electric current for underwater lights!). He later got a job with Disney as an Imagineer, where he built the famous “leapfrog” fountains at EPCOT, then started WET in 1983, where his team could engineer, fabricate and program all proprietary technology–like “Shooters” that can propel water up to 500 feet into the air–on-site in its Sun Valley, California studio. Even nearby Hollywood is in awe of his talent: The choreographed Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas were apparently dubbed by Steven Spielberg as “the greatest single piece of public entertainment on planet Earth.”….
Johnson’s fountain was more prophetic than reactionary, a fascinating interest in water in motion, with the architect turning once more to sprays, jets and falls as Andre Le Notre had done at Versailles. Except with Johnson, a new vocabulary had been made available by the modern inventions of the submersible pump and electronic controls, which was a novel at the time since it permitted abstract patterns of water to be recorded on tape and replayed like music. With Johnson, it was about movement, mass, height and color and a trick: a dramatic cutoff catching the fifty foot aerated spray at the top of its flight; a marriage between East and West traditions where water is like fire, unbridled exuberance, and also likened to love in a tenuous enigmatic union with the architecture in search of poetic permanence.
…Unfortunately, it seems as if Fuller’s work was reined in a bit for Lincoln Center; he tells Seabrook that he was cautioned against being “too Vegas.” (Reynold Levy, director of Lincoln Center, explains it this way: “We didn’t want something that would take away from the 8 p.m. curtain.”) Which is apt, really, since Fuller’s five new pieces at CityCenter are probably the most remarkable water-works on the planet but get about a half-paragraph in the piece (which was likely written months ago). To check out the wonders like WET’s Glacia ice sculptures, 15-feet pillars that slowly melt into a black pool in CityCenter, check out our tour with Fuller of the water features at CityCenter, where he got to pull out all the stops for true water showstoppers.Read More:http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/alissa-walker/designerati/water-genius-mark-fuller-refills-lincoln-centers-fountain
In 1983, Fuller and two partners started WET. The company struggled at first, and then, in 1995, Fuller got a call from Steve Wynn about the Bellagio. To create the Bellagio fountains, Fuller employed water cannons he had invented, known as Shooters, that use compressed air to fire shots of water. He also invented a new kind of nozzle, called “oarsmen.” The Shooters fire to staccato beats in the music, and the oarsmen sweep through the legato movements. The WET campus comprises eleven buildings in an industrial section on the border of Burbank. WET designers often visualize the individual nozzles in a fountain as pixels. It’s up to the engineers and the fabricators to design and build the plumbing, wiring, circuitry, and software that will sculpt the water into the shapes the designers have conjured up. WET’s designers try to make water do things it’s never done before. The new Revson Fountain was constructed entirely on site at WET, as are all the company’s fountains. The fountain has three hundred and seventeen computerized jets, which are arranged in two rings around the perimeter of the fountain, with radial arms leading to a central circular mass of more jets. A WET choreographer named Peter Kopik designed a daytime and an evening program for the fountain. The new fountain débuted on October 1st, and the daytime program has been running since then. When the jets are all on, they produce a mighty column of water that slowly rises on a height of twelve feet. Wh
he column is at its greatest height, there are four hundred and seventy-five gallons of water in the air. Especially after dark, people are drawn to the column of water, mesmerized by the two hundred and seventy-two L.E.D. lights that make the water glow white.
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/01/11/100111fa_fact_seabrook#ixzz1y95OmYjz