Royal Parks fountain restoration
Tiffany and Co. Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a $1.25 million gift to the Royal Parks Foundation (USA), a charity established to enable America to support the natural history and heritage of London’s Royal Parks. The programme, called Tiffany – Across the Water, focuses on ornamental and drinking fountains in the capital’s eight Royal Parks and will see the creation of a stunning new fountain in St James’s Park, restoration of The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens, as well as improvements to drinking fountains to benefit the Royal Parks’ 37 million visitors each year.
Conceived by the Royal Parks Foundation and Tiffany & Co. Foundation, in partnership with The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the challenge is to create a well-designed drinking fountain to replace older Parks’ fountains which cannot be restored. The winning designer will see their work turned into reality in the Parks, with the hope that the design will eventually be adopted in other green spaces around the world.
The number of functioning drinking fountains in the UK is at an all time low. A recent survey* revealed that only 11% of green spaces provide working water fountains.
Requiring 2000 times more energy to produce bottled water than tap water**, drinking fountains are a practical and environmentally friendly way to refresh visitors and minimise waste. Tiffany – Across the Water will see The Royal Parks’ drinking fountains undergo much-needed restoration after years of hard use, since they were installed in Victorian and Edwardian times.
A significant part of Tiffany – Across the Water will also be to create a stunning ‘Tiffany & Co. Foundation Fountain’ which will take centre stage in St James’s Park lake. The twenty-foot plume will leap against the magnificent backdrop of Buckingham Palace and Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. The aeration provided by the fountain will benefit the many species of wildlife dependent on the fresh waters of the lake.
The historic Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens, dating back to the 1860s, are a popular spot for tourists and Londoners alike and will undergo major restoration work, including five small fountains and the monumental Tazza Fountain. The stonework, flint walls, benches and formal promenade will also be restored to their former glory. In addition, a new eco-friendly water system will be installed to benefit the Long Water and encourage wildlife to flourish.
“We are very grateful to the Tiffany & Co. Foundation for this fabulous opportunity to restore and renew water features across the 5,000 acres of The Royal Parks. The international design competition to create a beautiful, “standard model”, drinking fountain will benefit millions of runners, walkers, riders, cyclists and other visitors to The Royal Parks and will, we hope, be adopted by other green spaces around the world”, says Sara Lom, Chief Executive, Royal Parks Foundation.
Part of our Foundation’s mission is to preserve the natural heritage that distinguishes great urban centers,” said Michael J. Kowalski, Trustee of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co. “To that end we established a parks program that began with support for the green spaces of New York City, where Tiffany was founded, and now has expanded to include parks in other major cities. In supporting the beautification efforts of the Royal Parks Foundation we help to maintain London’s tradition of parks that provide a respite and recreation to its citizens, and it is our pleasure to do so.”