The Art Of Fountaineering
Water sculpture has forged an increasingly important place within the imagination when conceiving the vision and detail of gardens and contemplative spaces in recent decades, taking the occasionally kitsch term ‘water feature’ to new levels both in terms of technical wonder and artistic reverence on an international stage.
In a large sense, the concept of artistic use of water to play upon the senses is nothing new. Large fountains occupied much of history with their esteem, from ancient Greece and Rome through to the architecturally visionary Italy of the 16th and 17th Century, spreading from there to the royalty of England, France and Austria and beyond.
The current distinction between fountains, water features, and water sculpture might be subtle in dictionary terms, but Giles has aimed to devise a number of imaginative directions with his work in order to create challenging, individual pieces of art that fit in with their environment – intentionally over a long/permanent timescale, but never forgetting the importance of aesthetic values. The designs blend traditional values and modern vision while often using cutting edge engineering alongside high metalwork skills. All this with the backdrop on an intuitive grasp beyond just the scientific, of the properties of that incredible substance: Water.
In this age of water renaissance, no longer do grand fountains have to be purely carved stone and figures, while large water features need not be millstones or tacky mass-productions. Bespoke water sculptures can blend in with architectural or landscaped surroundings whilst paradoxically standing out by captivating and intriguing the senses. A combination of imagination and technical know-how over years of experience and boundary-pushing, has here resulted in a portfolio of works that include the tranquil ‘whirlpool’ concepts, sculptures that steer water in what Giles has termed his ‘rotational effect’, converging water jets forming a starburst, and kinetic designs moved entirely by water, amongst others. Increasingly, Giles is also working on monumental sculptures of significant scale such as Arches in Muscat. Retaining an underlying, often geometrical simplicity (which frequently belies the complexity of surface detail or movement) ensures a timeless artwork, whilst a sensitivity to surroundings and scale is vital.
Commissions are undertaken on many levels, from smaller spaces up to expansive surroundings, either natural, landscaped, or architectural, outdoors and interiors included. Much experience with accomplished and unusual use of stainless steels, copper and bronze – the non-ferrous core materials of most designs has ensured robust yet often ethereal creations, though other materials also feature.
Although Giles designs and builds ‘dry’ sculpture too, he has certainly gained an international reputation for specialising in water sculpture. With a ‘hands-on’ approach, he also relies on a brilliant team of engineers and project support to ensure that technically difficult dreams can come true.