If you read this blog regularly, you know that I have a company, the Branch Studio, whose sole mission is to design and fabricate ornament for the garden. It is a small company, but it produces some very beautiful pots, sculpture, pergolas-and fountains. The opportunity for me to design garden ornament, and get it fabricated for specific projects adds a lot to my landscape design projects.
Detroit Garden Works is a retail outlet for those garden objects that get made at Branch. We make pots, sculpture, pergolas, plant tables, arbors-the list is long. Buck, Salvadore, and Dan are responsible for the fabrication we do in steel, wood, and concrete. Buck takes a sketch of mine, and creates an object. A Saarinen scholar in architecture at Cranbrook in the 1970’s, and a previously practicing architect for 30 years means no project of mine daunts him. Bowl shaped steel-really daunting. He took to it without any protest.
He has fabricated a pair of fountains similar to this one for a company in California that owns properties across the US-one went to Fort Worth Texas, the other will ship out to Florida in a few weeks. Those steel bowl shapes enchanted me-could we not design a contemporary fountain that could be delivered, installed, and plugged in?
In March, Buck was well on his way with this fountain. He was sure he needed a new Miller tig welder-ok, Buck. The details of his fabrication -ingenious, as usual. The bowl sits on a pedestal of steel that can sit at grade, if there is a garden planned in concert. That pedestal can be buried below grade, should a client with a contemporary landscape like to see the bowl sitting, appearing to float, just above the grade of a gravel or stone terrace.
Though round steel is entirely stable and strong due to its shape, the steel in this fountain is thick. We placed it at the shop with the help of a loader. Buck wanted to be sure that if a child chose to climb up the side, or an adult decided to sit on the edge, the bowl would not move, or tip.
Four people and a machine were involved in placing it at the shop. The process of setting a fountain level with the horizon is time consuming, and essential. More than any element of nature, water is always perfectly level. A vessel out of level-the water will describe that problem in clear and obvious detail.
I could not have been more pleased about the look of this contemporary steel fountain. It has lots of options for installation. Buck plumbed it, and set a good sized pump in the bottom. A valve controls the rate of the flow of water. The electric cord comes out at ground level from the pedestal.
Arrange for delivery. Install at whatever height seems good, in whatever landscape that asks for a coolly contemporary fountain 60 inches in diameter. Plug it in, or hardwire it. Buck thought through all of the issues. As usual, he did the lion’s share of the work. He makes it really easy to commit. This fountain brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. How so? He builds beautiful things.