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Fountain with Wrong Water Direction

This fountain and its inventor James Dyson attracted exceptional public attention during the recent flower show organized by the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain. The construction is special in that the water in it seems to flow upwards on the cascades. What is the secret of this idea? Some people called this fountain magical, but the inventor is laughing and say it just a simple physics.

Design and Idea

The combination of the four glass ramps is designed in a special way to clearly show the water flowing on the glass surface, and at the top, next to the foot of the other ramp, the water falls like a miniature waterfall. It all seems like an illusion of magic show and impress the viewers of any age.

Fountain with Wrong Water Direction
Fountain with Wrong Water Direction

The inventor James Dyson says he was inspired by the work of Dutch artist MC Escher who depicts a surreal construction where human figures seem to climb stairs forever. Dyson says that based on that installation by the Dutch artist, he wanted to create an optical illusion that shows that the water seems to be coming uphill and the slopes are arranged in a circle, as a result, the process goes on without stopping. He had a goal to create a series of cascades on the same level that would look like an eternal waterfall.

Where Is the Secret?

How is such an illusion created? The ramp is covered by a glass surface. At its bottom, water is pumped upwards and it is discharged to the surface through an opening at the top corner. Here, some of the water is directed to flow down the slope and cover the glass with a thin layer. Slightly compressed air is introduced at the water inlet connection, as a result, the bubbles travel up to the water outlet. The water flowing downwards, together with the bubbles, creates the illusion that the surface of the ramp is not just a simple glass lid.

This trick caused a lot of intrigue at the Chelsea Flower Show and it made people to create some unrealistic theories about the construction of this fountain. People gathered in groups and discussed all sorts of ideas on how such a device could work. As the author of the fountain said, he was standing aside and were listening to some of the weird theories, finally he was really surprised by some of the most fantastic ideas among them, and  even wished he could make some of them a reality. He was making jokes that he will tell those ideas to the engineer who helped construct this fountain and maybe they will create another fountain but more impressive for the next show.

Several architects have already asked about the possibilities to make the smaller version of the same fountain. However, the developer does not reveal all the details of how he managed to achieve this effect. James Dyson has already patented this invention and maybe it will be possible to have such crazy fountains in parks or some new futuristic buildings.