I suppose that it was inevitable that one day someone would take something as mundane as the traditional drinking fountain and transform it… But what a hellova transformation!
The fountain, called the Tropism Well (the name relating to the growth response of a plant to external stimuli, apparently..), leans forward, like a giraffe drinking water, to gently pour water into your glass. Thereby avoiding all those things I hate most about drinking fountains- that leaning forward and getting your hair wet, or the drip of the tap being so minimal that you nearly have to cover its rusty, germ-covered surface with your mouth while waiting in this awkward and uncomfortable position for some while. Yes, I could moan for a while about drinking fountains, so this new one designed by Poietic Studio, comes as a welcome and refreshing surprise.
The designers of the Tropism Well, Richard Harvey and Keivor Stainer, say that it works by making use of the “natural laws of physics to function. Once it has seen you, the gently bowing motion is created simply by moving water up and down the stem”. Although given my knowledge of physics, “simply” does seem the wrong word to use- considering my longing to see the project in action, I would think “amazingly” seems more appropriate. Regardless, I love how well and elegantly it fits into its park surroundings and the whole idea, of a fountain offering you water, seems magical. I particularly like the little jug at the end, providing a humble and humanising element to the whole process. As Creative Review so correctly put it, the Tropism Well engages with people in new and exciting way, enhances the use of public space and politically by-
distributing water this way in a public space, it rarefies the experience, turning the way we access drinking water into something special, rather than an act we should simply regard as a right.
So the project seems to tick all the boxes largely thanks to Poietic’s desire to bring together a knowledge of art, design and engineering into practice, and create tangible and memorable experiences. They now intend to use the Tropism Wells at festivals and events, and thankfully “open up conversations for permanent installations to replace the current ageing drinking fountains in public space”. My fingers are crossed.