The Australian company Oracle Laser Productions made a splash working on a multimedia installation on the Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City in Singapore. The fountain is certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest in the world and is certainly impressive, occupying an area of 18,116 sq. ft. (1,683 sq. m). The central ring of the fountain has a diameter of 70' (21m) and is supported by four 45'-high (14 m) bronze legs. Seventy-five downward cascading jets shoot the water into a 613.5 sq. ft. (57 sq. m) pool at the base of the fountain. There is also a central jet that can propel a spray 100' (30m) into the air and four perimeter jets that can reach a height of 30' (9m). The base pool can also be used for live performances when the water is turned off.
Suntec City was designed to be a 'city within a city' and consists of a convention and exhibition center, the 18-story Suntec City Tower, four 45-story office blocks, the largest shopping mall in Singapore, and an eight-level entertainment center. The 29-acre (11.7 hectares) complex is designed using the Chinese philosophy of feng shui to attract harmony and good fortune for its occupants. In plan view the city resembles a left hand, with the exhibition center representing the wrist, the 18-story tower the thumb, and the four office towers the fingers. The palm is represented by the fountain, located at the center of the complex.
Each evening between 8:00 and 9:45pm is showtime at the fountain, with performances every 15 minutes displaying the multi-sensory experience the Oracle team has created (pictured). Chris Sifton, who heads Oracle's recently opened Singapore office, was the designer on the fountain project, working alongside technical director Paul Mazlin and Mark Bucznski. Oracle teams from both Australia and Singapore worked long hours over a near-impossible four-week installation deadline to get the fountain shows launched in time for Christmas 1997.
Oracle designed a 100'-wide (30m) water projection screen specifically for the fountain and has engineered the world's first 360-degree rotating water screen. The laser installation consists of Oracle's own Septor 1000 system, with the main component being a 10W Coherent Saber laser split into three beams to power the main projector and remote scan unit. Lasers are positioned on either side of the water screen, creating another first-time-ever effect enabling images to be viewed from both sides. The laser system currently provides 270-degree coverage on the rotating water screen but the Oracle team is adding two more lasers to take the coverage to the full 360 degrees.
The Oracle team chose Martin MAC 600s to create high-intensity color washes for the fountain, water, and the surrounding areas. Martin PAL 1200s were chosen for their ability to hold 13 gobos, plus their wide beam angle and other special features, which have been used to create specific images and messages around the fountain. Effects such as lightning and explosions are created using four High End Systems Dataflash(R) AF1000 strobes, which are also used to create unusual patterns across the cascading water.
The Oracle engineering team, led by Mazlin, designed and implemented a customized computer system to control the entire spectacle, including the water. The system uses a smorgasbord of command protocols including MIDI, SMPTE, DMX512, RS422, RS232, and LAN (ethernet). The system has more than 100 devices which must be read, verified, or switched, and having all elements of the fountain under one control system has proved a huge advantage, particularly when it comes to reprogramming. The daily shows are run operator-free with all aspects pre-programmed; when it comes to the installation of a new show it is simply a case of inserting a pre-programmed disk.
Oracle now has an ongoing relationship with Suntec City and as a result has based its Singapore site at the complex. They are involved in maintenance and continuing upgrades to the fountain, and to date have produced six multimedia shows and managed seven events in and around the fountain space. Their involvement with the project has resulted in a stunning, must-see experience for any visitor to the country.