The standard for an international design competition to find ‘The Ultimate Drinking Fountain’ for London's eight Royal Parks was so high that the nine strong judging panel have selected two winners.
Both are from the UK. The winners Ben Addy of Moxon Architects for Trumpet and Robin Monotti Architects with Mark Titman for Watering Holes, were chosen from over 150 entries from 26 countries. The winning designs were judged on aesthetics, robustness for life in a public park, ease of maintenance and installation, sustainability and environmental impact and affordability.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, launched the competition earlier this year and spoke highly of the project: “I am impressed by the high calibre of designs and delighted that two British designers have emerged winners, from very strong competition across the globe. As we look forward to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, I am sure Londoners and visitors alike will enjoy sampling our finest water next spring from one of the newly installed fountains in our great parks.”
The judges felt that the Watering Holes design was very ‘art-led’ and the Trumpet strongly ‘design-led’ and thought that each, in its own way, held enormous potential for the Royal Parks. As the standard was so high, the judging panel finally decided to showcase both designs.
The competition is one element of a partnership between the Royal Parks Foundation, the charity for London’s eight Royal Parks and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. The £1 million fountain restoration project called ‘Tiffany - Across the Water’ has been funded primarily by a donation from Tiffany & Co. Foundation USA to the Royal Parks Foundation.
The project aims to restore the Royal Parks' historic drinking fountains and to install new ones where old ones are beyond repair. As there is no off-the-shelf drinking fountain suitable for The Royal Parks Grade I listed landscapes, there was a need to find a simple, practical and aesthetically pleasing design through the international design competition, launched by the Royal Parks Foundation and Tiffany & Co. Foundation in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) earlier this year.
Sara Lom, CEO of the Royal Parks Foundation says: "We are staggered by the response to the competition and grateful to The Tiffany & Co. Foundation for this unique opportunity to restore and renew historic water features across the 5,000 acres of the Royal Parks. The new drinking fountain will benefit millions of runners, walkers, riders, cyclists and other visitors to the Royal Parks and will, we hope, be adopted by other green spaces around the world.”
The Royal Parks Foundation’s vision is to improve the provision of fresh, healthy, energy efficient drinking water across the parks and to minimise the vast number of plastic water bottles discarded in the parks. The number of functioning drinking fountains in the UK is at a low. A recent survey revealed that only 11% of green spaces provide working water fountains. 2,000 times more energy is required to produce bottled water rather than tap water, so drinking fountains are a practical and environmentally friendly way to refresh visitors and minimise waste.
The panel was chaired by Michael Freeman who generously donated the Freeman Family Fountain to Hyde Park in 2009. Michael was joined by eight other judges who assessed submissions from designers, architects, engineers, students and ordinary members of the public across Europe and from countries including Australia, Singapore, Russia, South Korea and the US. British designers fared extremely well. Three of the four finalists were from the UK with the fourth being from Italy. Both the panel and RIBA have been delighted by the response: the competition resulted in three times as many entries as would be normal for other competitions of its kind.
Drinking fountains have played an important part in London’s history since 1859 when the first fountain was unveiled in Snow Hill and within 11 years there were 140 fountains across the capital.
10 November 2010