Laura Aldridge

Proposal for a drinking fountain
Bad Furniture
Commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland
2019

Proposal for a drinking fountain
Bad Furniture
Commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland
2019

Design Exhibition Scotland

This year Design Exhibition Scotland has commissioned three prototype drinking fountains. Once a common sight in Britain’s towns and cities – many were manufactured by Walter Macfarlane Ltd at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow – they were beautifully crafted, a generous and civic celebration of free and clean drinking water. Design Exhibition Scotland wishes to revive the drinking fountain for our contemporary age.

Bad Furniture is collaborative practice between two artists, Laura Aldridge and James Rigler.  Given a brief to design a contemporary fountain they first looked at the public drinking fountains of the past. Often exuberant, they felt todays fountains and top-up taps are mostly modest, mundane and frequently dull affairs. They wished to inject a sense of exuberance and the celebratory in to the fountain, to create a functioning yet beautifully sculptural fountain.

Their Proposal for a drinking fountain combines the playful and the pragmatic. A central ceramic circle signals the water’s source, its dimensions allowing the user to easily fill up their water bottles. The backdrop is sheet aluminum, brilliantly heralding the fountain’s presence. The image of cavorting individuals is a detail from The Fountain of Youth, a woodcut by the German artist H S Beham from 1536.

As Proposal for a drinking fountain is a temporary installation at Lyon & Turnbull, Aldridge and Rigler have chosen to show the workings of the water’s delivery. And importantly the simplicity. Design Exhibition Scotland plans to work further with Aldridge and Rigler on further developing this prototype.