Jim garland, the ‘elton john of fountains’ has a new hit _ the independent

With his black rumpled suit and probing glances, Jim Garland might be mistaken for a priest from a gritty parish. Direct auto insurance nashville tn But the glasses betray a more artsy, secular mien: They’re thick-framed and the colour of hardened caramel, and beyond them he observes a world through which water moves. One insurance direct Water is the stuff of life, but for Garland it is also the ultimate medium of expression and feeling.

From his studio in Los Angeles, he creates some of the world’s most spectacular fountains.


Dial direct car insurance number He is a peculiar blend of theatre architect, hydraulic engineer, lighting designer and choreographer, and there may be only a dozen or so people on the planet who do this at this level. Direct choice insurance services Above all else, Garland is an artist. Phone number for direct line car insurance Paul Redman, the executive director of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, describes him as “the Elton John of the fountain world. Open and direct car insurance He just has that level of charisma and passion, it just inspires you to reach higher”.

Thirty years into his odyssey, Garland, 57, is in the midst of his biggest project so far, the $90m (£69m) renovation of the Main Fountain Garden at Longwood Gardens. When most people look at a fountain, they see its structure, but when he describes one, he talks about how it directs the behaviour of the water. Direct auto insurance customer service He speaks of the Fountain of the Innocents in Paris, old and beautiful with cascades that emanate from an urn at the top. One call direct car insurance But if the water flow were turned up a hair, he says, you’d get a froth in the glassy cascade “so that it’s lace that moves through crystal”.

Rainbow-coloured plumes appear during a summer show at Longwood Gardens. Auto direct car insurance phone number The Main Fountain Garden is getting a £69m overhaul, with “dancing” water effects, LED lights and even fire (Sam Markey)

His mind is also drawn to the pair of fountains by Edwin Lutyens in London’s Trafalgar Square and the way the flow and the bowl work together so that “the bowl itself is completely coated in a membrane of water”. If you look at the fountain from the north “you see thousands of droplets alive in the spray. Can direct insurance The basin is a silhouette”. Walk around so the sunlight is behind you, and the water becomes more solid and the stone of the fountain is lit. Canadian direct auto insurance quote These effects “take a long time to understand”, he says.

At Longwood Gardens, the popular du Pont estate and garden near Wilmington, Delaware, the fountain was the grand gesture of industrialist Pierre S du Pont, a polymath who at one time headed both the Dupont chemical company and General Motors. Call direct auto insurance When the fountain restoration is finished next year, visitors accustomed to the summer evening show of water, lights and fireworks set to music, will see new performances that will incorporate du Pont’s light and water show with its 138 “legacy” jets and 380 fountainheads, all framed in a formal Italianate garden. Direct auto insurance claims But as each half-hour show unfolds, the audience will see that as spectacularly advanced as du Pont’s fountain was when it was built in the 1930s, fountain shows in the 21st century have been transformed.

The new Longwood fountain will incorporate effects that would make Louis XIV, the patron of Versailles, hold tight to his powdered wig: a total of 1,719 coordinated jets and streams, some emanating from robotic nozzles that swivel to make the jets dance; water pumps that dial the pressure up or down; LED lights that will bring colours never before seen in fountains; bursts of water propelled by compressed air; fire incorporated into the columns of water; an advanced sound system; and software programming that will blend the spectacle together with split-second synchronisation.

“The old sound system was actually quite nice, and the new one will shame it,” Garland says. Direct insurance marketing inc “The old lighting system was superb – you might consider it an instrument. Canadian direct insurance problems The new one is like an orchestra.” But when you look down at the Main Fountain Garden, which now looks like some great excavation of ancient Egypt, ”fountain“ seems such an inadequate word to describe the five-acre site.

The principal fountain pool, the rectangular basin, sits at the far end of Longwood’s conservatory overlook. Direct auto insurance hours Italianate arcades frame the space, decorated with 4,000 limestone panels carved in Italy. Canadian direct insurance quote They have all been removed and cleaned for the project, and the tired soil and plantings of the formal garden also have been removed. Direct auto insurance reviews An old allee of clipped Norway maple – a tree popular in the 1930s but now unloved for good reasons – will be replaced with native little-leaf lindens.

Somehow, Du Pont designed an enormous show garden that remained elegant. Canadian direct insurance hours Part of it is down to the Italian stonework, but even if it were just in concrete, the proportions are just right, further leavened by the garden’s sunken nature. The backbone of the garden is an entirely new network of underground concrete tunnels – 1,400 linear feet that will house and provide maintenance access to the miles of plumbing, electrical and propane gas lines, and the pumps and valves that animate the water displays.

Between the allee and the overlook lie two parallel canals connected by a central, circular pool. Dial direct car insurance contact number Together, the layout to Garland suggests a thrust stage, and the fountain jets a company of dancers. Ing direct canada auto insurance “Our intention is that they have a real personality,” he says, “and it doesn’t look like a dancing fountain but that the performers are made of water.” The central water jet is Garland’s prima ballerina. Budget direct car insurance number “She has extra personality and skill level,” he says. Motor direct car insurance “It’s going to be, I believe, mesmerising and have a lot of theatrical emotion.”

Probably the most famous theatrical fountains in the United States announce the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which opened in 1998. Direct link insurance services The fountains employed their own leading-edge technology, including robotic nozzles, LED lights, flames and ”shooters“ – bursts of water propelled by compressed air. Insurance direct reviews The Bellagio Fountains were the work of the industry giant WET, based in Sun Valley, California. Canadian direct home insurance bc The company has designed more than 300 fountains, its biggest to date the world-famous Dubai Fountain, set next to the Dubai Mall on a 24-acre lake, and opened in 2009 at a cost in excess of $200 million. Direct choice car insurance contact number Billed as the world’s tallest performing fountain, its features include water jets that reach 450 feet and a battery of projectors that add colourful abstract patterns to the water displays.

Compared with the Bellagio, “it has a lot of the same technology but it’s been vastly updated over the course of 14 years”, says Jim Doyle, WET’s director of design technology. Dial direct insurance reviews Among the advances are robotic nozzles that are “much smaller, much faster”, he says. How to buy cars from insurance companies direct Known as “oarsmen” because of their synchronised movement, early examples cost about $50,000 apiece.

Lighting technology has also changed dramatically. Auto direct car insurance contact Du Pont lit his fountain with incandescent lamps and arc lights, with housings and lenses specifically built for the fountain. 1 call direct car insurance They were expensive and sophisticated for their day, and used red, blue, green, amber and clear Pyrex lenses to create a mix of colours. Open and direct car insurance ni The lenses alone cost $4,248, a princely sum during the Great Depression. Among their limitations: they used a lot of energy and were high-maintenance. Canadian direct auto insurance You might have to use a 1,000-watt bulb behind a red lens to get 100 watts of light, Doyle says.

Advances in light-emitting diode illumination have brought colour effects to new levels. Direct insurance company inc The earliest LED systems consisted of red, blue and green light arrayed in a honeycombed lamp. Flux direct car insurance contact number “They would try on different combinations to create different colours,” Garland says. Nevada direct insurance “In fact, colour is much more complicated than that.”

In time, white light was added to the mix, but the effect was too cold. Pay direct auto insurance Current systems add amber lighting that provides more warmth. Bank direct insurance At Longwood, the LED arrays will contain a next-generation system that Garland says will “deliver the strongest, and most artistically nuanced lighting design to date.”

All the permutations of various effects are set to music, which requires a programmer to take a song and marry the toy box of fountain effects to its musical lines, rhythms and crescendos. Insurance direct A four-minute number might take two weeks or more of programming. Direct insurance bc “It’s really hard to do this because people have to have a lyrical sense,” Doyle says. Direct auto insurance login “They have got to be artists.”

“It’s exciting because we will be able to do things that I’ve thought about for many years,” says Colvin Randall, one of Longwood’s three fountain show designers. Direct line car insurance contact number They are putting together a dozen shows for the first year. Hastings direct car insurance contact number And the paradox is that the world’s newest theatrical fountains are using leading-edge, digitally begotten technology to create a consummately physical form of entertainment. Call direct car insurance Doyle says: “We sell reality, which people are getting hungry for. Top quote direct car insurance They’re getting tired of YouTube. Direct auto insurance claims address You can only see so many dancing cats.” And maybe the reality of theatrical fountains is the unreality of it, the glimpse of the fantastic.

As dynamic as major fountains are today, the need for us to find magic in water has abided through the centuries. Direct group insurance Two thousand years ago, the Romans developed sophisticated hydraulic systems and used them for amusement as well as utility. Dial direct insurance contact number And when classical Rome was reborn in the Renaissance, the theatre of the fountain was taken to heights that still draw millions of visitors.

In Italy, two Renaissance villas remain exemplars of fountain entertainment and beauty. Direct auto insurance jobs At the Villa d’Este in Tivoli and the Villa Lante near Viterbo, the water features form the primary elements of the gardens and draw hordes of tourists. Free phone number for direct line car insurance (Like Longwood, they were created as a private paradise that later became a public attraction.)

Garden historian Christopher Thacker described Villa d’Este as ”the most complete water garden in the world, with infinitely varied water spectacles.“ (These include the Hundred Fountains, a wall of jets and streams, and the monumental Ovata Fountain inspired by the water garden of the Emperor Hadrian, also in Tivoli.) Here, the hydraulic engineers who built the fountains in the late 16th century also incorporated watery gags that ensured that guests of the patron, Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, would get a surprise squirt or two. But the most technically advanced fountain was the Organ Fountain, designed by two Frenchmen, Luca Clerico and his nephew, Claude Venard. Car insurance auto direct Among the fountain’s innovations was a chamber in which water would pressurise air to sound the organ pipes. Direct insurance contact number It played automatically, without the need for a musician, and still does.

What Villa d’Este demonstrated was that if you were going to incorporate water features into a garden effectively, they needed to be as ambitious as the plantings and garden architecture. Employers direct insurance Du Pont was in his late sixties when his fountain was finally finished, but the inspiration for it came from a lifetime of experiences, including a visit in 1889 to the Paris Exposition where he saw a fountain at the base of the newly built Eiffel Tower, illuminated with new-fangled electric lighting.

Four years later, du Pont made his way to the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where the fountains in the Court of Honour formed a lasting impression. Auto direct car insurance telephone number Later trips to Europe also had a powerful effect, including the great chateaux of France, the Moorish water gardens of Grenada, Spain, and the Villa d’Este. Canadian direct insurance phone number Randall, who is also Longwood’s historian, wrote that the last venue prompted du Pont to declare: “It would be nice to have something like this at home.”

Du Pont brought many other luxuriant elements to his garden: a grand conservatory, choice woodlands and formal flower borders. Deal direct insurance But he knew what other gardeners have discovered through the ages. Quinn direct car insurance contact number Nothing gives a landscape its soul quite like water. Direct line insurance contact A garden where a fountain is turned off and its pool drained is not a dead space, says Garland. Direct insurance phone number “But it’s not alive.”

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