Client: Chicago Park District, Lincoln Park Conservatory
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Completion date: 2010
Vivian Visser Studio
Mike's Raintree is a fountain that blends into the natural environment of the conservatory. This was made for a show of sculpture specifically curated for that purpose. I made it to fit into an indoor water pond and to aerate the water. The “tree” is covered with 100 hollow flexible tubes that hang much like a willow tree. The Raintree is 16' high by 11' by 10' and is made from stainless steel. It recycles the water at a rate of 2,000 gph.
The goal was to blend into and enhance the atmosphere of the conservatory without overpowering the flora exhibit. This was accomplished in a way that was quite pleasing to me. The sound of the water through the tubes was much like a rain on a pond. It was an outside music that hadn't ever been heard before in the century old building. Many people passed by after it was there for a while and had begun to grow moss on the limbs and tubes without realizing it wasn't naturally alive. Beautiful.
The conservatory had a criteria that no plants would be harmed by a sculpture and would not intrude on the public viewing of the exhibit of the flora. Vivian Visser was the curator of the exhibit and we worked together on the project to make sure that it went smoothly. It did and was a success.
It is looking for a permanent home and is suitable for outside use.