In the world of art and entertainment, there are more and more proposals for live shows hybridized with new technologies, where classic programming is accompanied by multidisciplinary content, also propagated through virtual reality, sensors, or video installations. This arose from the incessant desire and need of the public to live new experiences and feel new emotions, so – on the other hand – artists and companies collaborate, dedicating themselves to finding a way to immerse all the senses in an experience and create a reality “other”, but perceived as real.
The aim, in many cases, is precisely to propose community experiences, in which the narrative sense coincides with the sense of spatial perception. There are as many examples as there are many artists, who over the years have attempted various experiments to offer unique, innovative, and new shows to the public, addressing both the community and the individual, depending on the type of performance and the message they intended to convey.
In all this, musical dancing fountains are also an artistic form that embraces innovation. Like all the “children” of the twentieth century, these fountains also grow and evolve from year to year, thanks to the progress of technology and, above all, human creativity, where reason and deduction, imagination and intuition, create unique works that tell the story that we are living.
In this broad backdrop, Forme d’Acqua carries out its mission, that is, to create beauty through its creations, together with the architect and designer Simona Marta Favrin. Online and in documents, you can find her as FavrinDesign, for us she is simply Simona, a historical partner, architect, and creator of numerous musical dancing fountains. A classical education, anchored in Greek, philosophy, and astronomical geography, she became an architect out of love for the past, with the desire to preserve the noble traces written by man during his passage through the world. For her, art and design are the highest forms of human expression and tools for understanding the moment and place in which he is destined to live.
Simona, what is your role in the design and creation of a musical dancing fountain?
The first contribution is linked to the conception of the shape of the fountain, understood as compositional development and distribution in space of the elements that compose it. The elements must be thought of both about the space we have available and in which the fountain will be placed and to the possible scenography that a specific compositional form – thanks to the arrangement of the nozzles – allows to obtain, both about the scenographic points of view, evaluating the perspectives from which the musical shows will then be seen.
In some of our articles, we have defined you as a “lightning designer”, but we understand that this is not correct. Maybe it is better to talk about you as a designer, correct?
This definition is a bit narrow for me, in the sense that the chromatic choice is only a part of a more complex work, the scenographic composition of the piece, which is made up of figures, movements, dynamics, passages, and also, finally, of color. Color is the last phase of designing a musical show. We like that the fountain dances perfectly even in broad daylight when the color support is not there: this implies greater work, customized to the piece, which is dismantled beat by beat, and rebuilt together with the water and the movement of the nozzles that we have available.
The fountain is, therefore, transformed into a dance troupe, in which each element contributes in ways and times to create the choreography: there are the first dancers, but also the entire rest of the dance troupe, who “dance” on the musical notes, blending your movements with the rhythm and flow of the song.
Color is the “tailor-made costume” that dresses the fountain, helping to increase its expressive power and public involvement, as well as making it beautiful!
When did you start working on musical dancing fountains? What was your first experience?
I started in 2018. The first dancing and musical fountain was the one we designed and built, together with Forme d’Acqua, for the entrance of a very important accommodation facility, the HotelQuellenhof in Merano.
Like all first times, it was very exciting and equally complex, a new world was opening up to us to explore and with incredible expressive potential. The union of music with the movement of water creates a disruptive mix, to which it is impossible to remain indifferent. And, being able to create emotions with water is a great privilege.
In the beginning, I spoke about the multidisciplinarity that characterizes this type of creation, so there are certainly other figures with whom you collaborate when it comes to designing and programming a musical dancing fountain. Who do you work with? How do you organize yourselves?
We work together, Elia and I, who take care of the “pure” programming using Syncronorm’s Depence R3 software, which allows us to view the 3D choreographies in real time on the monitor. When we work together, Elia translates and materializes the visual suggestions and choreographies that I have in my mind.
In general, we start by analyzing the song, which was previously shared and agreed with the client. After that, we put down the first structure of the song, attributing a “role” to the various elements of the fountain within the song: we will therefore have the main voice, the drums, the strings, or the wind instruments, which – during the development of the song – will be personified by the Crown Nozzle, the Jumping jets, the Multidirectional Drive or the various groups of nozzles.
Then we create the “story” of the piece, a story made in images, in which the technological elements of the fountain are transformed into the dancers of the corps de ballet who dance to the rhythm of the music, describing the verses and refrains with their movement, following and interpreting the dynamics of the piece.
In the end, we go to “color” these figures: each song has its color, which derives somewhat from the soul of the piece, and is intimately connected to the emotions that the song transmits when we listen to it. Just as an energetic and disruptive rhythm will have primary or contrasting colors, so a melancholic soul will be told through pastel color with delicate shades.
Let’s get more technical: what are the forms that best lend themselves to the success of water choreographies?
There is no perfect shape because this is strictly connected to the place where the fountain is made and seen.
And if you could choose the “perfect combo” of nozzles, which would you choose?
I would like them all and… I should not have budget limits!
We have seen that musical dancing fountains lend themselves to multiple and different situations: indoors and outdoors, on raised basins, in “mignon basins”, restaurants, hotels, public squares, and ports. In your opinion, what is the place where they express their best?
Where they can reach people more. Musical dancing fountains are made for people, to make them dance, dream, excited. The size does not necessarily influence their potential, perhaps the choice of technological elements is more important, which allows for broader combinations of movement and shape and therefore capable of better narrating the piece.
On your website you describe yourself like this: “For me, design is a global creative discipline, of an artistic and poetic nature: one of the most intense art forms of the era we are living in.” How do you see the design of musical dancing fountains of today and those to come?
We live in an era of experience, in which we try to create connections between objects and people. The value of the “product” increasingly lies in the connection it manages to create with the user, in being a generator of “experiences” and “emotions”.
From this perspective, the planning and design of dancing fountains have incredible potential, because it allows you to reach people explosively and directly, without filters. This is because it uses primordial elements – water, sound, color – which have always been intimately connected to our emotional and vital sphere.
In addition, as I was saying a moment ago, being able to have at your disposal – as a designer and architect – the tools and the possibility of moving people is a great privilege.