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GATEWAY FOUNTAINS (article first published : 2001-06-21)

Water features of a nature never seen before in South Africa will be central attractions at Gateway Shoppertainment World, the R1,4bn leisure and retail centre being developed by Old Mutual Properties in Umhlanga.

The three water features have been designed by the award-winning Canadian company Crystal Fountains. The company has created some 700 water features worldwide, including those at centres such as the world's tallest office buildings, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

The main fountain on Umhlanga Boulevard will offer an illuminated song and dance routine that will change the face of Durban's nightlife, says Philip Howes, design manager for Old Mutual Properties. "By day, the fountain is a playful children's dry plaza fountain, by night it will be transformed into a water, light and choreographed musical extravaganza with a host of special effects. Shows will run every hour. We expect they will be huge drawcards for Gateway visitors when the centre opens in October."

Howes says the water feature will be 30 metres in diameter and will comprise an illuminated 25-metre long wave effect that surges up five metres, a jet that reaches a height of 20 metres and a series of shark fins that race back and forth at breathtaking speeds.

"Crystal Fountains has designed a unique series of 64 switches to operate the jets and each can change five times a second. Water flows at 6 400 gallons (US) a minute. A pedestrian bridge will not only allow viewers a close-up look at the fountain but actually take them inside it."

The Palm Court fountain will have five-metre high water cascades pouring from seven decorative “Grecian” urns, falling onto a natural rockscape with a lily pond.

"The north court fountain comprises interactive high-tech water jets, air and lighting fibre-optic effects to provide an animated display of leaping, dancing water, shooting stars and a 25-m high jet that bursts up into the dome, past the second shopping level," adds Philip Howes.




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