Millennium Park - Crown Fountain, Chicago
It's a joy to behold...children romping in the water and laughing with delight; adults in awe, pointing to the fountains and then the children.
Designed by Spanish sculptor, Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain is actually twin towers of glass screens with changing images and cascading water. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago recruited volunteers from some 100 cultural groups and age groups ranging from 7-80 years old that are supposed to represent a cross section of Chicago. These faces are randomly displayed on the screen for about seven minutes, and, during the final minute, the face puckers its lips and water is released from a spout! I think they look like "Human Gargoles" that are found on ancient fountains...how cool is that? The faces fade and then close-ups of natural phenomena (nature scenes) will eventually appear between human images.
Supposedly, the fountain towers face each other to symbolize communication between the two.
The towers are each 50 feet high and face each other across a reflecting pool that is about 230 feel long. The entire plaze is covered with black granite from Africa. Later, timber benches are to be installed. All of this is to be framed by trees and plantings.
Water is pumped up from an underground reservoir and sent to tubs that release the water over all four sides of the towers. There is a LED screen behind the glass brick exterior that projects the images.
Plensa says, "We need an anonymous person living in the city. That is the real 'god-ness' today."
This project was financed by the Crown family foundation to maintain the piece and its underground computerized control center for 30 years. Both the Crown family of Chicago and the Goodman family of Chicago gave ten million dollars each.
Don't go to see the Crown Fountain unless you are willing to get somewhat wet. To photograph the events, you need to move in, and, like the joyous children, the water will be under your feet, and the spray will cover you too.
At the southwest corner of the park (Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street) are twin 50 foot fountain towers. The towers display video images of various Chicagoans and lights. On warm summer days, children (as well as youthful spirited adults) frolic in the shallow water between the two towers and delight in the spray from the fountains. The surronding green area is a relaxing place to spread out on a blanket and read a book.
Walking along Michigan Ave. you will eventually pass by this golden nugget. It's nice to see the sculpture spit water, but you must have your camera ready bc it doesn't last long. There is some nice seating around this fountain and a panera across the street where you bring a coffee over from. It's fun to play in the water and watch the kids splash around.
I wasn't quite so taken with Crown Fountain as with Cloud Gate, but it was still a fascinating bit of 'art' (is it art??) and certainly excellent for people-watching purposes.
It was designed by Jaume Plensa, a Catalan artist.
Basically, there are two 'fountains' at either end of a black granite strip. The fountains use a system of LEDS in clear glass 'bricks' to display random, gently moving images of Chicago residents. Occasionally, one of those full-face images will purse his or her lips and a water spout will swing into action, apparently being whooshed from the resident's lips.
Children love it...children love sploshing around in water at any time..and certainly love it when the lips purse (sometimes they do that just to tease).
Well worth seeking out when you visit Millennium Park (as you most definitely should).
a different kind of fountain experience. The Crown Fountain maybe a fountain but is sure is a one of a kind of fountain for the unintiated. Made in 2004 and named after one of the richest dudes in Chicagoland, Lester Crown, The Interactive fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of transparent glass brick towers that produces simulated faces of about 1,000 assorted chicago natives every 15 minutes and alternating with other sceneries. The towers are 50 feet (15 m) tall and use light-emitting diodes behind the bricks to display digital videos on their inward faces and the reflecting pool in between is so shallow that you can walk through it (see my pics) and hence, it competed with the Cloud Gate as the most popular attraction in Millenium Park and admission is free.
There are two of these fountains in Millenium Park. They depict the faces of some local Chicagoans while water flows down the face from the top. Worth checking out, especially in Summer.