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Competition in Czechia: drinking fountain


GRAS won second prize in the competition for a drinking fountain proposal in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary, famous for its healing hot springs. The proposed fountain is informed by notions of reoccurring natural phenomena, as well as mythological symbols of medicine and healing.

Currently, when visitors enter the existing spa building, they are greeted by a burst of vertical energy, as the hot spring water is pushed up from the ground and into the atmosphere. Next, the row of 5 internal fountains that present glass totems, give a feeling of solidity and presence. The energy of the springs appears to be frozen in time before our eyes. The proposed new fountain would complete this cycle, by providing a focus back towards ground, a feeling that the spring energy is returning to its source. The spout bows towards the onlooker and the onlooker returns the gesture when filling their cup.

Almost undetectable to the eye, the spout completes 1 revolution every 24 hours. In this sense, it creates a clock hand that bathes the stone disc it moves above. Over time, this surface will form sedimentation. We propose that this is left untouched, so the disc may act as a canvas for the natural phenomenon to take place. It may be replaced over time – giving an opportunity for the older discs to be hung, creating standalone grand works of natural art.

Referenced also is the Asclepius’ rod – a snake wrapped staff associated with medicine and healing. The central spout is shaped in such a way that resembles a crafted staff, balanced upon a vertical column. The serpent is referenced within the textures of the materials employed: the spouts hammered brass exterior creates the effect of scales, that wrap around its surface. Secondly, the raised curb around the circumference will feature a subtle ribbed pattern, mimicking the belly of the snake. Once more creating the symbolism of serpent enclosing staff.

Project Team: Antonín Hůla, Jan Hájek, Alistair Byars and Paula Szturc