Drinking Fountain for the Royal Parks, London – Robin Monotti
The sculptural granite slab with polished watering holes offers the user both a grotto-like experience of immersion and framed views to the landscape beyond. The water is activated by stainless steel buttons set in brushed steel plates on the sides of the slab.
The experience of inserting one’s head into these watering holes is playful yet deeply rooted in ancient and popular British culture. Monolithic and timeless, these slabs echo the silent standing stones of yore. They also act like the seaside photo boards of more recent holiday experiences. The free-standing and open nature of the fountains with their intimate holes that contain and frame the user’s head and face connect the user with both the surroundings and the action of drinking in a way that an open fountain could not.
The fountain is perforated with three circular holes. The three holes relate to the drinking heights of adults (the higher one), children or wheelchair users (the middle one), and pets (the lowest hole). To the lower side of each circular hole will be the mouth of a water jet that is controlled by a respective push button on the side that allows the water to flow when pressed.
The water flows down the circular cut, and the circle’s chamfer prevents any splashing to reach the person drinking. Having reached the lower section of the circle, the water flows down the face of the fountain to be collected in a trough at the bottom through which the water is drained. The main block is to be made of sawn Cornish granite, which will give the fountain a smooth and dappled colour. An anti graffiti sealant is applied to the face to render the concrete water-proof and allow any graffiti to be removed.
The positioning of the fountains within the Royal Parks will be considered with reference to the views that will be framed by the circular holes when in proximity of the fountain. The simplicity of the shapes of the rectangle for the main body, and the circle for the hole are designed to give the fountain an easily recognisable identity that can be perceived from a distance as a sculptural element within the park.