imageIt’s Summer People and what better way to cool down than by being by or looking at water…you might have noticed we sit on the edge of a body of water, Lake Michigan, actually, I do sit on a body of water, my home is on lake fill!!!!  Oh, my!  Let’s look at some of our wonderful water features.

imageThe two images above grace the Penthouse terrace of a dear friend who adores anything Art Deco and fills his home and terrace with treasures from the period.  By looking at these wonderful small pools of water you can see why.  I am obsessed with them and I will share more photos of the terrace later this summer.  The photos were taken several years ago and it has evolved but the silver lady is still the focal point.

imageA granite pillar fountain in the backyard of  Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel’s Mid-Century modern home.  I love the tranquility of it.

imageAnd in their front yard, an ode to Frank Lloyd Wright on his 150th year.  Isn’t this a stunner!!!  I love to sit in the living room and look out the window at this piece of sculpture.

image You might prefer wonderous ponds on an estate’s grounds, also relaxing and divine scenery to capture your interest.

imageOr perhaps you would like a small waterfall in your garden.  I took this photo at the Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier earlier this year, Next year’s show is March 14-18, 2018.  I’m mad for the look of it and it seems to be a fairly easy feature to achieve in a small space, did I say easy….I guess I am watching too much HGTV, however, I did (all by myself!!!) dig out all the sod, 12 inches deep, and laid 8 ton of flagstone then built a raised Japanese garden in one corner, in my Evanston garden many, many years ago…Mom was the gardener, green arms, she cultivated over 200 rose bushes, mostly old fashioned English roses…but that is yet another post!

imageA waterfall in the City, why not, the John Handcock Center thought it would be a good idea…I agree and now that there is a Starbucks on that level as well as the Cheesecake Factory, to satisfy your cravings, it has great sitting spaces…what a perfect place to relax and watch the world go by!  Pinterest photo, credit unknown,


At the North end of Millennium Park is the Wrigley Square Fountain.

imageI think this image is the most iconic with the Crown Fountain perfectly silhouetted againist our truly extraordinary skyline!  Exquisite!!!! Pinterest photo credit unknown.

From the City of Chicago website some Crown Fountain facts:

“Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is a major addition to the city’s world-renowned public art collection.

The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out.

Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through an outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa’s tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents.

The fountain’s water features operate during the year between mid-spring and mid-fall, while the images remain on view year-round.”

imageI always love sitting in this hidden gem at The Art Institute of Chicago’s McKinlock Court.  You can enjoy Jazz on Thursday evenings.  I’ve gone there my entire life….a very long time and still find it a peaceful oasis in the middle of my city!


Moving further South on Michigan Avenue is this serene scene at the South end of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Not only is  this an extraordinary fountain display but a divine allèe that is truly glorious no matter the season. Designed and constructed between 1962 and 1967, the garden is one of Dan Kiley’s best-preserved commissions from the period.

imageAs you walk into the park you find this Fountain of the Great Lakes, a sculptural fountain by Lorado Taft created in 1913.  An aside, I did a Jhane Barnes men’s wear fashion show in this space, it was quite a fun and unique event and featured the talented Midnight Circus as entertainment, they are amazing and I used their performers many times when I was at Saks.  I see that they are performing in Chicago’s parks this summer, check them out you won’t be disappointed!

imageI don’t have this fountain’s provenance but as you walk South from the Art Institute and a bit off Michigan Avenue (the railway tracks are just to the East) you will come upon this charmer.

imageOf course, my favorite of all our Chicago water features is Buckingham Fountain.  As a little girl, Mom and I would often meet Daddy for dinner and a stroll down Michigan Avenue, I would run (much to Daddy’s chagrin) from Michigan Avenue to the Fountain to watch the lights change, I knew in my heart that it was all Daddy’s magic and he made it happen!  He did you know!!!  When I am teaching at Columbia College Chicago I can look out my classroom window and see the Fountain in all seasons.  It is a joyful occasion when it is turned on in May!  A Nena’s Note, yet another fashion show venue for Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago…we did an Emanuel Ungaro personal appearance and fashion show in a tent by the Fountain.  It was a benefit for the Woman’s Board of the Alliance Française de Chicago  May I brag and say it was a phenomenal evening and a very successful event.

I thought you might like a brief history of the Fountain, the following is taken from the Chicago Park District website…buckingham-memorial-fountain

“The Fountain officially opened to the public on May 26, 1927, and was dedicated on August 26, 1927.  As the centerpiece of Grant Park—“Chicago’s Front Yard”, architect Edward H. Bennett (1874–1954) designed the Fountain to serve as the park’s formal focal point without obstructing the views of the Lake Michigan. Kate Sturges Buckingham (1858-1937) dedicated the structure to the people of Chicago in 1927 in memory of her late brother, Clarence, donating one million dollars for the Fountain. 
Edward H. Bennett designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert. Inspired by the Latona Fountain at Versailles, the structure is composed of four basins clad in elaborately carved granite and pink Georgia marble.  Buckingham Fountain, however, is twice the size and re-circulates approximately three times more water than its French counterpart. Chicago’s fountain is also unique as it symbolizes Lake Michigan. Conveying the enormity of the lake, its major display uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute and sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground. The massive lower basin features four sets of Art Deco style sea horses representing the four states that border Lake Michigan.
To create the sea-related bronze elements, sculptor Marcel Loyau studied the sea horse collection at a zoological institution in Paris. The fountain’s sculptural elements garnered Loyau the Prix National at the 1927 Paris Salon. The monument’s original design included colored lighting to emulate soft moonlight. During the dedication in August of 1927, John Philip Sousa conducted while his band played “Pomp and Circumstance” before an audience of 50,000 people. 
For years, the fountain was entirely manually operated by two engineers who each worked a twelve-hour daily shift. Although the evening light show was first automated in 1968, the water continued to be manually operated until 1980, when the operations were fully computerized. From 1983 to 1994, the fountain’s computer was located in Atlanta. Today, however, it is on site and with a monitoring system in Arlington Heights, IL.  
The Fountain has remained intact except for a brief theft of two carved fish heads from the fountain, weighing several pounds each. The fish heads were recovered when a salvage place was offered the pieces and the buyer thought they looked very familiar and reported them.”
I would love to hear your comments on your favorite water features in and around Chicago.