Interesting information and case studies on the restoration and restyling of private fountains
One of the best parts of our job is receiving enthusiastic requests from customers who decide to enter the fascinating fountains’ world. Every day we receive many requests for the restoration of fountains and water feature, but also of new creations, especially for companies and public administrations. However, if we look at the world of private individuals, most of the requests we receive deal with the restoration or restyling of outdoor fountains.
Many homes have unused fountains, ponds or swimming pools in their garden waiting for a second chance: many times we intervene on the fountains with a conservative restoration, keeping the original appearance unaltered and working inside, on the implementation of the MEP parts. Other times, we give space to the client’s creativity and so our designers implement a real restyling, completely revising the initial appearance through new shapes, materials and water architectures.
Even before the restoration or restyling, design and materials, the implementation of the MEP parts of the fountain takes place, which makes it sustainable and durable over time: through the installation of a water filtration and recirculation system – connected to a panel for balancing the pH and Rx values – the fountain has water that is always clean, crystal clear and free of lime scale deposits. But, above all, it always reuses the same, which is only replenished when it drops below the average level (for example, due to of evaporation). The accurate design of the MEP part makes the real difference on the restoration, because it guarantees a safe fountain free of water and energy waste, with the water filtered from impurities and its values automatically balanced continuously. The filtration and recirculation system alone does not guarantee the same effect, because it does not intervene on the water parameters, but only cleans it from impurities and dirt: without an automatic control panel for pH/Rx balancing, limes cale continues to act on the surfaces, settling and causing damage, primarily to the pumps (blocking them) and then to the appearance of the fountain, creating an unpleasant patina. Furthermore, the lack of chlorine starts the proliferation of algae and bacteria, making the water green and unhealthy.
Another element that must never be missing in a fountain is the automatic filling system with stop for dry motors, which automatically replenishes the water as needed, keeping the level constant, and at the same time – in case of lack of water due to an anomaly in the system – stop the pumps to prevent them from being damaged.
Moving on to the aesthetic side of the intervention, in the conservative restoration of a fountain, all the surfaces are cleaned and the broken or missing elements are restored, then focusing on the play of water and lighting. There are various models of nozzles that generate water architectures from the most classic – such as the corona effect or foaming – to the most original – such as the JumpingJet or the Water Bell. Depending on whether we are working on a small or large fountain, but also on a pond or a swimming pool, the water feature to choose changes, because it must be adapted to the size, context and purpose of the project. In the same way, the lighting must be chosen by arranging the one that best enhances the project as a whole and increases its potential: the charm of many fountains is given by a smooth light, such as White 3000K, but it could be even more attractive if it has RGB+White spotLEDs, which allow you to select the shades and the play of lights to your liking. Imagine a garden party with a fountain that changes color thanks to a simple click from your smartphone – thanks to the My Fountain app – the wow effect is guaranteed!
A case study of conservative restoration is the intervention made to the fountain of the Papadopoli Gardens in Venice. The fountain had been abandoned for several years, so much so that the basin was no longer there and research was needed to rediscover what the original water feature was.
During the restoration work on the fountain, the stone curb of the perimeter part outside the basin and the basin placed at the top of the column were restored. The basin is used to collect the water emitted by the nozzle placed in its centre, which slowly overflows along the entire edge – generating a suggestive drop effect – and finally falls into the large basin below.
In order to admire and enhance the fountain even in the evening, a lighting system was designed consisting of five RGBW IP68 LED spots in AISI316L 12V stainless steel, whose power line carrier LED system allows you to choose between thirteen fixed colors and ten preset sequences , selectable from the control unit or from the remote control. Otherwise it is possible to manage the lighting, but also the on and off times, the filtration system, the control panel and much more from the MY Fountain app, which can be connected to the already existing home automation.
If, on the other hand, it is a matter of restyling a fountain, the field of action expands even more, because various elements take over. Many times the original shape of the base of the fountain is maintained and the design is reinvented, making it more modern, captivating and aligned with the context; in other cases we also intervene on the original imprint, redesigning everything completely.
In the photos below, you can see the before and after of our restyling of a private fountain.
The concept – designed by the architect Simona M. Favrin – was born from the client’s desire to restore the fountain already present in his villa at the time of purchase and to enhance it by inserting artistic Murano glass artefacts, an element of which he is a great admirer.
Of the original fountain, only the imprint has been maintained and the coverings, water features and decorative elements have been changed.
Initially the coverings were made with decorative pebbles for the exterior, while for the interior the classic blue stoneware with murrina effect, typical of swimming pools and many fountains of the past century. It was decided to cover the old cladding by replacing it internally with grouted (to make it water resistant) and sandblasted (to give a porous finish) white travertine, while externally only sandblasted white travertine was chosen.
The original decorations were large stone blocks that took the shape of floral elements, but in the restyling they were replaced by a series of Murano glass components that transform the fountain into an aquatic garden of golden flowers. Eighteen ears of Typha – in blown crystal glass with bubbles and gold leaf – playing alternating with six decorative butterflies, while nine water lily leaves are placed on the surface of the water – made in fusion with double Murano glass plate – on which three frogs rest. Both the water lily leaves and the ears of Typha are supported by tailor-made supports in AISI316 stainless steel.
The water feature was completely revised during the restyling: initially it provided for a crown jet given by 26 small static nozzles arranged in two parallel lines. It was replaced by the surprise effect of the ears of Typha, from whose top a light curl of water that covers the AISI316 stainless steel barrel and the Murano glass elements, enriching their reflections and colours.
Finally, the lighting of the fountain: the spotlights fixed to the bottom of the tub have been removed and replaced by 14 recessed RGB+White IP68 LED spots, whose colors and chromatic effects can be selected via smartphone, tablet or PC thanks to My Fountain, the app designed and created by Forme d’Acqua for the complete management of its fountains.
The fountain has always been the decorative element par excellence: over the years its symbolism has changed from an indispensable source for the supply of public water to a place of aggregation and socialization, to finally become a demonstration of the socio-economic power of society or of the individual. Even today this concept of power remains, but takes a back seat, leaving the scene to design and beauty to see, experience and share.
Whether it is the restoration or restyling of a fountain, the components that come into play in professional creation are many and often complicated. A niche sector such as the design and construction of water features cannot be taken lightly and entrusted to plumbing professionals or companies specializing in swimming pools, because in both cases they would lack the specific know-how that makes Forme d’ Water one of the most quoted and recognized companies in the field of fountains.
January 23rd 2023