Designed by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, the Fountain is a gift to the city from the Crown and Goodman families of Chicago. Krueck + Sexton Architects and Crystal Fountains helped design and construct the structure.
Plensa and his team of designers painstakingly videotaped hundreds of people to create the required images. A Barco Show Controller randomly selects each face out of an inventory, then randomly selects one of eight LED colors programmed into an ETC Emphasis® control system to light the tower. Each face appears for five minutes at a time, smiling and grimacing until it purses its lips like a playful modern-day gargoyle and spits water out onto fountain revelers.
The ColorBlast units create the effect of glowing monoliths of saturated color. Meanwhile, the Emphasis system controls a series of spotlights at the foot of the towers that illuminate cascades of water flowing dramatically down the tower sides. ETC Sensor®+ GFCI racks, engineered for wet-use locations, handle the dimming of the spotlights and are located under the towers.
According to Jim Baney, a Principal at lighting design firm Schuler Shook, “Based on our experience with other color changing fixtures, the LED solution promised to be the lowest maintenance solution. Several of Mr. Plensa’s previous projects had used LED fixtures, so he was comfortable with this technology.”
According to Christian Hanke, project architect at Krueck & Sexton, “It was very important to have the ability to change and manipulate the lighting in almost every desired way, depending on the time of day and season. The ColorBlast units were the logical choice, since this piece of art is intended to last a century or more. Longevity, dependability and controllability were key components in selecting an adequate light source for this attraction.”