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Knafelj's Fountain

Proposal for the new water sculpture at the recently renovated Slovenska Street

Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2016

Water sculpture as a drinking fountain and as a shelter for people with public access

to fresh tap water.

Drinking fountain »Knafelj's Shelter« will become a new meeting point in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. With its unusual form and reflective outer surface, it will establish a visual interaction with its surroundings and set a mirror to individual passers-by – the Slovene society. Turned upside down, it will, like the Slovene patron Luka Knafelj, take under its auspices curious individuals, who will find drinking water within its shelter. In this way we want to promote the idea, that water should be available to everybody.


The drinking fountain operates throughout the whole year, changing its character by reflecting the seasons. In spring, the fountain offers impromptu shelter from sudden rain, in summer it can be used as a shading canopy, where we take a short rest and a drink of water and where children can play with water droplets falling from the fountain's reflective edge. In winter the fountain becomes a large street lamp with icicles forming on its edge.


From afar it seems as if the fountain, which seeks inspiration in Magritte’s mysterious painting “Les idees claires”, where a white cloud and a rock are levitating above the sea, plays with gravitation and floats above the paved carpet of the recently renovated Slovenska Street. Only when we get close to it, we notice the supporting column that holds the canopy above ground and hides the two water taps, one with drinking and one with recycled water.


An interactive moment happens, when the user opens the tap for drinking water and a separate tap opens on top of the canopy. From it recycled water slowly pours over the reflective surface and drips from the edge of the fountain to the paved street floor. This is a nice surprise for the user, especially since we’re almost never in control of public fountains. The interaction happens on both sides – for people within the fountain, who find themselves in “another world” (space within space), and for passers-by, who might wonder how the fountain works and who are the people inside controlling it.




Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Project date: 2016
Completion date: -

Area: 17 m2

Type: public

Client: Municipality of Ljubljana

Authors: SVET VMES, d.o.o.: Jure Hrovat, Ana Kosi, Ana Kreč, Žiga Rošer, Ognen Arsov; Sculptor: Jure Markota


Award: Equal honorable mention 

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