Dubai Fountain Awes Onlookers

DUBAI - Less than two months back, it was a huge trench, another of those construction sites in a city dotted with sky-rises. Today, 30 acres of prime land at Downtown Burj Dubai has the newest water feature in the city — The Dubai Fountain.

By Patrick Michael

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Published: Thu 26 Mar 2009, 1:11 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:44 AM

As water spectacles go, this is the grandest in the region, and as testing progresses on the fountain, the visual experience it offers is simply majestic.

How about having a water-sprout as high as a 50-storey building? That is The Dubai Fountain for you, the rhythm of water jets oscillating from 3 ft to 500 ft, right under the shadow of Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building.

Quite fitting, as The Dubai Fountain itself is described as the ‘world’s tallest performing fountain’. It also has the distinction of being one of the world’s largest fountains with all controls being executed under-water.

Miles and miles of cables connect pressure pumps and projectors in the true ‘heart’ of the fountain, below the bed of the Burj Dubai Lake.

Man-monitoring of the fountain is undertaken from the control room in the top-floor of The Dubai Mall.

The Dubai Fountain is clearly positioned as a tourist attraction for Dubai. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, the developer of the fountain, says it will “add to the city’s tourist appeal,” and terms it an “unparalleled light and music spectacle for the city.”

But with the fountain, Emaar is also adding another draw to its 500-acre mega-project, Downtown Burj Dubai. Visitors to The Dubai Mall have been witnessing the buzz at the Burj Dubai Lake, where The Dubai Fountain is located, for several days now.

But on Monday evening, the full spectacle bloomed with the entire 275 metre length of the fountain coming to life.

Although monochromatic — mostly in a shade of yellow — in the testing phase, Emaar says the fountain will offer a colourful visual spectrum when it opens sometime later this year.

The fountain is musical too, but the line-up has not been revealed. For now, the music is also a sample used for the purpose of testing the fountain.

The Dubai Fountain, as is the norm in Dubai, sets its sights high. It is considerably larger than the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas but not the world’s tallest in terms of single jet fountains, the record going to King Fahd’s Fountain in Jeddah at 1,023 ft.

However, in terms of complexity of operations and overall coordination, The Dubai Fountain is treading new ground. WET, the California-based designer, who also designed the Fountains of Bellagio, has a team of experts, from visualisers to choreographers, engineers and allied technicians working on the project.

Mark Fuller, WET’s founder and chief excellence officer, says the fountain not only defies gravity but also “utilises the latest technology in lightingand robotics.”

Water features have long been the fascination of the Arab world. Dubai, not surprisingly, gives it a modern twist. And the result is for all to see.


  • The Dubai Fountain has five circles of varying sizes and two arcs
  • When fully operational, it will have 22,000 gallons of water airborne at any given moment
  • 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of 1,000 water expressions
  • Over 6,600 incandescent large fountain lights add to the visual appeal
  • The water jets will sway to the rhythm of world and Arabic music

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