Worldwide Famous Fountains – Water Fountain Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics is upon us and our televisions are continuously streaming news of athletes from all corners of the world competing at the highest level in their respected sports.  With all of the lights, glamor and excitement surrounding the 2 week-long event, I feel some important spectacles of the world get missed.  After all, the Olympics are about showcasing your country’s determination, strength and ability through various activities. What better way to showcase these things than by competing in an architectural landscape competition where each country submits magnificent water features that have been created specifically to push the limits. Since this is obviously not probable in the near future, I have compiled a list of amazing water fountains that WOULD represent each country in this competition. These fountains are all one of a kind works of art in their respected country and deserve the utmost praise of ingenuity.

1. Horace E. Dodge Memorial Fountain Detroit, USA  

Horace Dodge Memorial FountainHorace Elgin Dodge and his brother John Francis Dodge founded the Dodge Automobile Company in 1913 after years of manufacturing and developing parts for Henry Ford and Oldsmobile. They started their machine shop business in Michigan and were considered extremely influential in the industrial development of Detroit. When Horace’s wife died in 1970 she left a sum of money to the city of Detroit for the construction of a memorial fountain to be designed by Japanese/American sculptor, Isamu Noguchi, in honor of all he gave to the city. This fountain is part of famous Hart Plaza in Detroit, Michigan and is constructed of the stainless steel structure and black granite pool.

2. Pineapple Fountain – Charleston, USA  

pineapple_fountain_carolina_USAThe concrete Pineapple Fountain at the center of Waterfront Park in Charleston, South Carolina was constructed in 1990 even after Hurricane Hugo struck and created over $1 million in damage. Pineapples are a common theme in Charleston where they are considered a sign of hospitality.

 3. Fountain of Wealth – Suntec City, Singapore  Singapore

Fountain of WealthHolding the Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Fountain, the ‘Fountain of Wealth’ is nothing short of spectacular. It measures 66 meters in diameter and height of almost 14 meters and symbolizes the country’s wealth and prosperity. It was designed from the ground up with ancient Feng Shui traditions in mind. The inward flowing water signifies retention of wealth for Suntec City and prosperous lives for all inhabitants.

4. Swarovski Fountain – Crystal Worlds, Austria  Austrian Flag

Swarovski-Fountain-AustriaThe Swarvoski family has been at the forefront of crystal design and manufacturing since the very beginning and it shows in the their quality and success. In 1995, Austrian artist, Andre Heller, created the indoor theme park, “Crystal Worlds”, as tribute to the beauty of crystal and innovation of the industry. The theme park consists of 14 “Chambers of Wonder” where world-renowned artists and designers showcase their work. The opening of the theme park is ‘guarded’ by a large head featuring two Swarvoski crystal eyes and water fountain spouting from the mouth built into the hillside. Everything appears to be natural or, at the least, ancient.

5. The Dubai Fountain – Dubai, United Arab Emirates  United_arab_emirates

The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain in existence spanning 902ft long and shooting water up to 500ft in the air.  It cost $218M and was created by the California company, WET Design as a way to exhibit the pride in cutting edge technologies that the UAE provides.

6. Rainbow Fountain – Banpo Bridge, South Korea  South Korea

rainbow_fountain_koreaAn addition to the 4,905ft Banpo Bridge in 2009, the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain is a symbol of Seoul’s eco-friendly nature, as it recycles water directly from the Han River in South Korea.  At night as the fountain pumps over 45 thousand gallons/minute, the 10,000 LED lights dance and flicker to create a beautiful rainbow effect throughout the entire length of the bridge.

7. Friendship of Nations Fountain – Moscow, Russia flag-russia

Peoples Friendship Fountain

 One of most proud moments in Russia’s history is commemorated by the ‘Friendship of Nations’ fountain. The 16 bronze gilded statues of maidens in their respected national garb represent the 16 Republics of the USSR celebrating the unity and collaboration they shared within the Soviet Union.

8. Latona Fountain – Gardens of Versailles, France  french_flag

versailles_fountain_FranceThrough its nearly 350 years of existence, this fountain has experienced many changes to itself and the world. King Louis XIV had the fountain first created in the center of his garden to tell the story of Apollo, the sun god. Over the years, it was added to and transformed into what we see today. The woman featured on top of the fountain is Latona, the mother of Apollo and Diana. Legend states that when encountered by the peasants of Lycia, they insulted her, leading to their transformation into frogs as punishment. Since it’s construction, the fountain has been turned and raised to create a stair effect.

9. La Joute Fountain – Montreal, Canada  Canada

La JouteJean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2004) was a famous Canadian artist that was most known for his works on canvas and paper, but evolved into an accomplished sculptor as well with “La Joute” becoming his flagship sculpture. At night the fountain is illuminated by a ring of fire created by natural gas rails under the water. This fountain was even featured in the Montreal Olympic games, but was moved to a more centric location in the city to increase exposure to it’s beauty.

10. Magic Fountain of Montjuic – Barcelona, Spain  Spain

It took over 300 workers throughout a 1 year period to create this ambitious masterpiece. It was the brainchild of designer Carles Buigas who was an international architect, engineer & inventor. The Magic Fountain is his most famous work and remains as one of the biggest water spectacles in the world.

 11. Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy Italy

Trevi FountainThe Trevi fountain was designed to tell the story of a young shepherdess who lead a group of soldiers to a hidden spring of fresh water. That spring later was connected to Rome through a series of aqueducts that ended at the current site of the fountain. The main statue represents Neptune, god of the sea, with the goddess of Abundance and Salubrity accompanying him. He rides a chariot pulled by two sea horses with gods riding on their backs. Three different designs from three different designers were combined to form the current Trevi fountain which has been a focal point for Rome even bringing in over 3000 euros a day from visitors who hope to have their wishes granted. That money goes to a local food back for the needy.

12. Fontana dell’Ovato – Tivoli, Italy  Italy

Villa_dEste_fountainBeing the oldest fountain in the field might make this the most magnificent. Try building this fountain with current technology and it would be difficult, but what if you had to build it 450 years ago? A truly amazing feat of human skill and ability. The “Oval Fountain” resides in the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy and will always be a main attraction for the small city.

Fact Sheet and Medal Awards
Country Year
Horace E. Dodge USA 1981 30ft 278gal $2.7M
Pineapple Fountain USA 1990 NA unknown $4M
Fountain of Wealth Singapore 1995 45ft unknown $6M
Swarovski Fountain Austria 1995 20ft unknown unknown
Dubai Fountain UAE 2009 500ft 22000gal $218M
Rainbow Fountain S. Korea 2009 141ft 759gal $16.1M
Friendship of Nations Russia 1954 80ft 317gal unknown
Latona Fountain France 1667 NA unknown unknown
La Joute Fountain Canada 1976 unknown unknown unknown
Magic Fountain Spain 1929 177ft 687gal unknown
Trevi Fountain Italy 1762 86ft (height) 231gal unknown
Fontana dell’Ovato Italy 1572 NA unknown unknown

1st place: I think everyone can agree that the Dubai Fountain wins the Gold hands down. The technology and creativity involved in the design is nothing short of genius. Dubai will be proud of this landmark for years to come.

2nd place: The Rainbow Fountain of South Korea not only adds an element of fantasy to our everyday life, but showcases how the combination of nature and technology can be beautiful. The Silver rightfully goes to South Korea.

3rd place: The Bronze will go to Spain for the Magic Fountain. La Joute of Canada was a very close 4th place, but in the end it came down to pure power. The output of the Spain’s fountain far surpasses that of Canada’s although Canada has the more artistic design.

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