Built in the late 1980s, the 44 fountains in Unirii Square in Bucharest, one of the central points of the city, is one of the longest systems of its kind in the world, at 1.4 km. They were recently modernized, and late last week they were inaugurated with a spectacular music show and a light show.
The City Hall and the Apa Nova water utility Authority have created a new point of attraction on the map of Bucharest. These are the first European fountains to have the benefit of latest generation equipment. We are invited to enjoy a veritable artistic experience, with a show that is designed to take the visitor through seven worlds that speak about Romania – the worlds of water, earth, air, the world of plants, and the world of the Centennial, all preceded by the astral world.
Mihai Savin, deputy general manager with Apa Nova, in charge of the project, told us where the idea came from: “It began with a simple idea. As we know, in most major cities, fountains evoke the city's present and past, and tell their stories. They were built to amaze, in order to showcase cultural richness, creativity, inventiveness, and the dedication of their creators. This is the concept we have also used, and wanted to turn this conventional idea into a multisensory experience, starting with the tridimensional approach to the project, visual, auditory, and spatial. We also wanted to put Bucharest on the tourist map as a major point, in step with the times we are living in, by evoking the values of the present, strength, color, and form.”
The exceptional qualities of the new fountains are the result of the international experience and expertise of the teams and companies involved in their development. A German company, known across the world for its fun water installations, supplied last generation equipment and technologies, unique in Europe. Also, the architects in the project reinterpreted for the new design of the fountains the theme of the Great Union, introducing additional elements that make reference to the hora dance, the Cyrillic alphabet, and the famous Cucuteni ceramics. Les Ateliers Nomad developed a complex creative concept that blends in an original choreography with all the animation techniques known in Europe.
The results could be savored by the audience that attended the opening show, called The Water Symphony. It featured multicolored water jets shooting up to 30 meters up in the air, forming water arches in various hues, with vertical water ribbons dancing to the rhythm of music. The diverse music was reflected by the alternation of colors, going from pink to mauve to red, to orange, blue, and green. A water screen in the central fountain featured a projection with a pair of dancers, followed by the map of Romania, then the portraits of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie.
Mihai Savin told us what message is being transmitted to the audience: "It says that this is a city of contrasts. It is a modern city, but with a fairly long history. With the diversity of the music we wanted to illustrate a cultural diversity that existed in Bucharest. People also like symphonic, but also modern and traditional music. That is why we have several themes.”
We went to see the show, alongside thousands of people who came to enjoy the show. Here is Paula Lazar, a retiree at the show: “I loved it! It is the first time when I see anything like this, and I was impressed.”
Ioana, 58 years old, expressed delight: “Beautiful. It was expensive, but it was worth it!”
The Ionescus showed their enthusiasm at the opportunity to watch the show together: “Beautiful! Superb. Music and lights everywhere! It was extraordinary!”
From a technical point of view, the organizers told us that the project started with a facelift for the fountains, which have many classical elements. All the equipment was installed in already existing pools and structures. The sculpted centerpiece was preserved and fully integrated into the new design. Now, the central fountain in Unirii Square contains four water sheets oriented to the points of the compass, which can be used as screens for a grand multimedia platform, for video or laser projections. Their placement forms a tridimensional effect, unique in Europe. Now the fully digital monitoring system allows the control of any individual unit of the entire complex of 44 independent fountains strewn between Alba Iulia and Constitution squares.
Mihai Savin concluded by telling us: “The plan is for every weekend, Friday to Sunday, during summer hours, between 11 PM and midnight, to have 30 minute shows, for as long as the weather permits.”