William Pye Water Scupture


Commissioned by Cable and Wireless for Mercury House in London. The title Aventino is taken from Aventine Hill in Rome, which according to legend, was Mercury’s abode. Mercury, the messenger of the gods, was also the god of merchants and of trading. Five different elements form the sculptural composition within the atrium of Mercury House: a cascade between two lifts, a suspended water wall in front of the lifts, a shallow, reflective pool lined with granite, engraved glass panels at each side of the lifts, designed by Susan Pye and a carpet designed by Susan Pye.

The cascade consists of a vertical rill of water flowing down six storeys of bronze panels that are sculpted to create a ripple effect in the water. Four glass panels forming the water wall are suspended from a cantilevered tubular structure, which both holds them in place and acts as a conduit for the water supply. Water is distributed evenly along the length of the panels and flows over the back and front surfaces of the glass. The water is caught in the shallow granite pool into which fibre-optic lights are set. These pick out the colours in the bronze backdrop and highlight the shapes created by the rippling water.

Light shades of green and cool Portland stone facades create a graceful, tranquil ambience in the humming headquarters of one of the world’s largest telecommunications groups. The lifts move behind the flow of water and passengers experience the sensation of being behind a waterfall whilst looking down on the fast-flowing cascade.

The architect for this building was Austin Smith-Lord. William Pye worked on Aventino in close collaboration with architect David Franklin.