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SCHOTT at the Expo

Silke Scharhag

A Fountain as a Pendulum

Ceramic, steel and a round high-tech mirror made by SCHOTT Spezialglas AG, Standort Grünenplan are all the winning elements of Ulrich Witzmann’s innovative fountain awarded a design prize at the EXPO 2000.

Water waves glide gently and effortlessly along the grooves of a 3-meter-high ceramic cylinder, only to lose themselves on the circular surface of the illuminated mirror panel. Viewers would normally expect the water to flow downward and splash at their feet, but instead the water disappears into the steel cone below the mirror. Against all expectations, the object does not remain still. Instead, it is in perpetual motion, always swinging from one point to another. These are the riddles of the “Pendulum Alpha”, as master potter and designer Ulrich Witzmann has called his latest creation.

Inspiration came from Foucault’s hovering Pendulum in Paris, which fascinates Witzmann. “Alpha stands for the beginning but also for the hovering space station that circles the Earth.” The 45-year-old combines his love for technical and physical processes with his passion for visionary models. His work style is characterized by geometrical shapes such as cylinders, balls or cones. This visionary fountain combines elements from several epochs: ceramics as one of the oldest materials is next to a 1-meter-wide high-tech mirror made from the same material that is used for “Aspherix” automobile rearview mirrors. Made by SCHOTT Spezialglas AG, Standort Grünenplan in the regular production as a prototype, the mirror is regarded as a highly successful experiment. The creative water object will find its permanent home in the city square of Aachen, Germany.