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Tiffany & Co. Foundation & The Royal Parks Foundation launch major fountain restoration programme in London’s Royal Parks

This morning, in glorious sunshine we attended the launch of this great initiative “Tiffany – Across the Water”.   A gift of $1.25M to the Royal Parks Foundation to make improvements to drinking fountains and the creation of a stunning new fountain in James’ Park and the restoration of The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

Boris Johnson bounded in to launch the US/UK initiative and announced an open international competition, in partnership with RIBA, the challenge is to create a well-designed drinking fountain to replace the older Parks’ fountains which cannot be restored (bear in mind many of these were installed in Victorian or Edwardian times).   The winning designer will see their work turned into reality in the Parks, with the hope that the design will eventually be adopted in other green spaces around the world.

The significant part of ‘Tiffany – Across the Water’ will also be to create a stunning “‘Tiffany & Co. Foundation Fountain” comprising a 20 foot plume, against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace and Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade.   On a sustainable consideration, the aeration provided by this fountain will benefit many of the species of wildlife dependent on the fresh water of the lake.

The work in the Italian Gardens will comprise major restoration work to the five small fountains and the monumental Tazza Fountain.   A new eco-friendly water system will be installed to benefit the Long Water and encourage wildlife to flourish.

Incongrous as it was for the time of day, dancing was given by the Dance Al Fresco team and Kele Baker, with a display of the Slow Waltz, The Argentine Tango and the Jive.

The competition is open internationally to all design disciplines, including architects, engineers, product designers, artists etc. Designs will be judged against the following criteria: aesthetics of the design, robustness for quality of life in a public park, ease of maintenance and installation, sustainability and impact on the environment and affordability. Those interested should see www.royalparksfoundation.org/fountains. To enter competition go to www.architecture.com/competitions to register or riba.competitions@inst.riba.org.

And with that Boris bounded out.

And just in case you didn’t know, the Royal Parks comprise: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, The Green Park, The Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

And finally, did you know The Green Park is called such because Charles II picked flowers there to give to a beautiful lady who wasn’t his wife. In a fit of pique Queen Charlotte had all the flowers, flower beds and shrubberies removed leaving nothing but green grass and trees!   (Still it makes a change from slashing suits).