U Graduate Works Wonders With Water

Water is one of the most simple substances of all, yet through fountains and other installations, it can bring joy, according to Mark Fuller, chairman and CEO of WET Design. WET Design has completed 200 installations throughout the world, most notably The Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The fountain incorporates light and water streams to put on a show set to music.

Fuller’s lecture took place Wednesday afternoon in the Marriott Library’s Gould auditorium. Audience members lined the back of the room and sat on the floor in the front.

Fuller described his innovative designs include different ways of lighting and propelling water. Fuller began experimenting with a technique called laminar fluid flow when he was a student at the University of Utah working on his honors thesis.

This technique, which he experimented with in his mother’s backyard, uses a nozzle to filter out turbulence, resulting in a smooth, concentrated spray of water. These sprays can be directed in a parabola, or they can be manipulated to create the same effect as a snapping rope. Fuller can also arrange the water streams to crash into each other, which when illuminated properly will create a splash of light.

Fuller uses light to illuminate the streams of water, reflective pools and cascades of water to achieve his desired effects. His projects also use random timing to spray water streams at an unsuspecting public.

Fuller showed numerous slides of his projects, and how he integrated these innovations into the fountains.

“Every time we finish a fountain, we think we’ve done everything we can with water,” Fuller said. He said that they always find new ideas though.

Fuller showed how energy output can be minimized through careful engineering. Fuller’s firm also tries to reduce the amount of water used in his projects. To reflect properly, a pool only needs to be one-eighth of an inch deep.

The fountain Fuller designed for the Bellagio is one of his company’s most well-known achievements. This fountain is the biggest ever built and includes many different lights and water streams in a large pool in front of the casino. Using different levels of pressure, lights and waving streams of water, the fountain dances to music. Fuller’s lecture included a film of the fountain performing to the song, “Singing in the Rain.”

Fuller designed the fountain at the Olympic legacy plaza that recently opened. He also is working on the design of the Olympic cauldron that will be unveiled during the Opening Ceremony in February. Although Fuller could not reveal details about the cauldron, he offered a hint as to what the cauldron may be like.

“I’m sworn to secrecy for what we’re doing for the Olympic cauldron,” he said. “As you can see, I’m kind of a water guy, so there may be a touch of that.”

Most of the audience enjoyed the lecture.

“I knew it was going to be good,” said Grady Hodge, an English student who attended the lecture. “There’s something so exciting about the simple pleasures of moving water.”

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