The art of illuminating Fountains

Brief guide to making unique and evocative fountains
The art of illuminating Fountains

A fountain is an attractive center capable of drawing attention to itself from the first glance: the jets of water, or the reflective capacity of the surface of a mirrored fountain, are elements that capture anyone’s heart. But, there is one factor that contributes more than any other to the attractiveness of a fountain: lighting.

In this article, we offer you a brief guide to fountain lighting, created together with Teclumen, the Italian company founded in 1978 as a specialist in the assembly of projectors for entertainment and for years producing innovative solutions for the lighting of swimming pools and fountains, but also for theatre, entertainment, architecture, gardens, and interiors.

a) The lightening in the past

Until a few decades ago, fountains were lit in the same way as swimming pools, mostly following the same aesthetic taste and the same products, such as the PAR 56 immersion lamp. The name is composed of the suffix PAR, which stands for Parabolica, and 56, which indicates the diameter of the lamp itself expressed in eighths of an inch. The 300W PAR 56 was the reference model for decades, because it reflected the technical and system characteristics in force at the time, so much so that it was present (in many slightly old structures it still is today) in almost all deep swimming pools with its unmistakable 30° yellow cone, which created lateral shadow areas. The 50W PAR 56, on the other hand, was more commonly used in small or shallower pools, because it offered a slightly wider light output, of around 35-40°. Now PAR 56 continues its story in the LED version in relamping projects, i.e. the replacement of traditional fluorescent, incandescent, or halogen lighting with the latest generation of low-consumption LED fixtures.


b) The arrival of LED technology

In the early 2000s, the introduction of LED technology marked a turning point in the world of lighting, gradually replacing existing traditional forms (incandescent, halogen, etc.). This revolution has also had a significant impact on the field of aquatic lighting, opening the doors to new creative possibilities for fountains and water features.

The spread of LED technology revolutionized the way of illuminating fountains, with colors of every shade and, above all, with an expansion of the light beam up to 180°, thus eliminating shadow cones. The LED lights, in addition to illuminating the tub homogeneously and completely, offer a very vast color range ranging from White to RGB+White.

The advantages of LEDs, such as significant energy savings and long life, have contributed to their growing popularity. This technology has allowed not only to improve energy efficiency but also to expand the design possibilities thanks to their flexibility and compactness. Architects and designers have chosen LEDs not only for their technical performance but also for their positive impact on the environment, in an era where sustainability is at the center of attention.

A fundamental aspect of LED technology is the choice of color. Variants such as warm, natural, and cold white offer different shades that significantly influence the surrounding atmosphere. Warm white, with a color temperature below 3000K, tends towards yellow, creating a welcoming and homely atmosphere. Natural white, with a temperature of around 4000K, is closer to neutral white, while cool white, with a temperature of 6500K, tends slightly towards light blue, creating a fresher and more modern atmosphere.

Additionally, RGB LEDs have further expanded creative possibilities, enabling a wide range of dynamic hues by mixing the primary colors: red, green, and blue (hence the acronym RGB). This technology offers the ability to change color dynamically, allowing for a variety of light designs that can radically transform the appearance of a fountain based on the occasion or context. Furthermore, the recent evolution of RGB+White technology further expands the possibilities, allowing the clarity of white lighting to be combined with the scenographic potential of colored lights. RGB+White LED lights are extremely versatile, allowing you to create lighting effects both for everyday lighting and for special occasions, for example in gardens or public spaces.

DMX control in RGB+White variable color spotlights, with a driver integrated into the lighting body, has become an essential tool for managing the play of light and colors in a precise and coordinated way. This technology allows the programming of complex light sequences and the creation of real choreographies of lights and evocative and exciting scenography, which adapt to the context and the occasion, making it possible to synchronize the lights with other elements of the show or architecture surrounding.

For a fountain to perform at its best, especially in the evening hours, it is essential to carefully design the lighting to enhance its significant aspects without leaving dark or incomplete spaces. For example, water walls often have a sliding surface that is not completely illuminated, since the light is concentrated at the base, leaving the upper part dark: this can only be avoided by considering certain factors during the lighting design, such as the optics of the headlights, their angle of inclination and their position. A further crucial element to consider is the color rendering of the light concerning the color of the tank, the walls, and any surrounding elements or monuments, therefore in the process of defining the project, the lighting designer must take into consideration both the characteristics of the sources luminous and the requirements relating to the environments and objects intended for their illumination.


c) The use of LED spots to maximize the aesthetic performance of the fountains

For the lighting of our fountains, we use Teclumen products, known for the combination of high-quality materials and advanced technologies. Their fountain products offer long-lasting, efficient, and versatile lighting solutions. Every component, such as the steel body and precision optical lenses, is designed for excellent performance and long operating life, making Teclumen a reliable choice for underwater lighting.

The new CORALLO line, with its advanced technology and flexibility of use, represents an addition of great value. Ideal for creating lighting scenarios of great impact and charm, CORALLO is a line of LED lamps that offers high-quality professional lighting for dancing fountains. Thanks to the excellent light efficiency, impeccable color mixing, and flicker-free technology, video footage is fluid and high-impact. With a wide range of available optics and 24 V DC power, these lamps offer flexibility and ease of installation for events, concerts, and architectural settings. CORALLO lamps are the perfect choice for creating fascinating and engaging atmospheres, providing unforgettable experiences.

Teclumen headlights are made of AISI 316L steel and glass. Steel is known for its strength and durability, ensuring greater product longevity and better heat dissipation than plastic materials. Glass, unlike plastic materials, is not opaque and can be kept transparent with simple routine cleaning, ensuring that the light emitted is always powerful and clear.


All Teclumen lighting fixtures adopt a mechanical closure which eliminates the need to use silicone, speeding up delivery times and simplifying any repairs, thus guaranteeing an efficient after-sales service. They are also equipped with a special permanent immersion cable, designed to last a long time without deterioration, ensuring the safety and overall durability of the underwater installation.

A temperature control system protects the electronics and LEDs by activating in the event of abnormal increases in temperature, ensuring safe and long-lasting operation. Thanks to RGBW technology, it is possible to produce different shades of white and suggestive shades of color, adapting the lighting of the fountain to any situation and creating unique and engaging atmospheres.

Finally, a surface treatment based on nanotechnology is performed on their products, aimed at eliminating the oxidation phenomena of steel, which operates on the nanometer size scale, using aqueous or alcohol-based solutions of silicon nanoparticles, which are arranged on the surface forming a protective barrier. The size of the silicon nanoparticles allows them to cover even the microporosities, preventing polluting agents from penetrating the substrate, thus providing surprising water-repellent and easy-to-clean properties.


d) Conclusions

We conclude with a nice quote from Gilberto Cason, Founder and CEO of Teclumen Ltd., which in a few words summarizes what has been written so far:

“Quality is the best investment over time”


Susanna Dei Rossi

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