2009 • Whole Foods, Pasadena, CA

Stainless steel, water, plants. 18' x 6' dia.

© 2009 Buster Simpson

Whole Flow, located at the Whole Foods Store in Pasadena, California, is a sustainable fountain of utilitarian function with sculptural proportions. The fountain receives gray water generated within the store, aerates this reclaimed water through a series of cascading flow bowls, and then distributes the water to a landscape. In addition to its aesthetic quality, the fountain addresses the concern of transporting Pasadena’s domestic water supply from a finite Colorado River Watershed and implies a shared responsibility for the stewardship of water.

Approximately 55,000 gallons per month of reclaimed water generated by the large food store “chillers” supplies the fountain prior to irrigating the landscape. It is envisioned that this recycled water source will supply a new adjacent mix use development being planned. The sculpture consists of a series of twelve stainless steel bowls, each 50 inches wide, which pour one into the next, aerating the recycled water flow of 2 to 4 gallons per minute. In order to push the water to the headwaters of the landscape area which is 3 feet higher in elevation than the base of the fountain, water fills a stanchion pipe with a bucket on top and creates a head of water pressure. At the base of the fountain, a small portion of reclaimed water irrigates a bowl of horsetail, an ancient plant.

The sculptural fountain of cascading water creates a pleasant acoustical ambience masking nearby traffic sounds. The stainless steel surfaces are highly polished and respond to ambient reflections of light and water. In the evening, a series of light emitting diode fixtures, reflect the water’s cleansing flow patterns on the bowl surfaces. The movement of passing traffic and pedestrians, as well as the water flow, combine in a kinesthetic visual and audio event.

The passing back and forth of water descending the parabolas sets in action a cleansing, a sound, and a reflective reaction. The procession is the art of sustainability, infrastructure, creating a poetic utility for the City of Pasadena.

Commissioned in 2005, Whole Flow will be dedicated in early 2009 concluding a governmental approval process for reclaiming municipal water. This project is part of the City of Pasadena’s Public Art Program with funding provided by Bellevue Ventures LLC, and infrastructural assistance by Whole Foods. Art management services were provided by Marc Pally and landscape architectural services by Kornrandolph, Inc. Fabrication and installation of the sculpture was performed by Fabrication Specialties, LTD and Simpson Studios.

Site Design by Todd Metten

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