Silence and mist – Tadao Ando’s mystic Mayfair fountain

Tadao Ando - Silence Where did you go for Open Garden Squares Weekend? I joined a walking tour of Mayfair led by my friend Yannick, London Tour Guide extraordinaire. And, in amongst the garden squares, he included this remarkable fountain. It’s by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, it’s outside the Connaught Hotel and it’s probably one of London’s best-kept secrets. Bet you’ve never seen it!

Tadao Ando - Silence

One reason it’s not very well known is because it’s not been there very long. it was completed in 2011, commissioned jointly by the Connaught Hotel and Westminster Council. And it doesn’t advertise itself – it’s perfectly possible to walk past and never realise it’s there, because it’s flat and modest – and silent.

Tadao Ando - Silence

No gushing spouts or rippling falls here – just water trickling down the outside of a peaceful basin and, every fifteen minutes, a gentle hiss and a cloud of water vapour to startle the unwary.

Tadao Ando - Silence

Tadao Ando - Silence

It’s best seen on a sunny day with a gentle wind to ripple the surface and create patterns and textures. Like this:

Tadao Ando - Silence

Tadao Ando - Silence

Tadao Ando - Silence

Tadao Ando - Silence

Ando is from Osaka, a self-taught architect who started out as a boxer, and his focus is on the beauty of simplicity, the art of creating emotion from the organisation of space. His fountain, titled Silence, does just that – I recommend spending some time with it to appreciate its simple complexity.

Tadao Ando - Silence

16 thoughts on “Silence and mist – Tadao Ando’s mystic Mayfair fountain

  1. Oh this looks absolutely wonderful – working/fitting with the buildings and the trees. Thank you for letting us in on this secret, will be taking a look next month when I come up to see the RA Summer Exhibition. Lovely photos as usual.

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  2. Thank you, Fran, I enjoy that corner and the fountain each time I happen to be in the area (also the nearby garden). Glad to hear it’s by Tadao Ando, been a fan of his work since uni. Always a pleasure reading your posts.

    Best,
    Iancu

    Like

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