It’s Stop and Go for Letchworth’s Central Fountain

This art installation entitled The Three Spheres by Mario Ercol Borza was part of the living art gallery which was created throughout Letchworth in Hertfordshire as part of its Vision of Utopia exhibition, which ran from 5th – 27th April. The Three Spheres consisted of red, yellow and green balls which were suspended above the fountain symbolising traffic lights. The installation on the town’s central fountain in Broadway Gardens, formerly called Kennedy Gardens after President John F. Kennedy, referenced Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the English Garden City movement, and his aversion to traffic. It is somewhat ironic that the fountain with its traffic light installation symbolising Howard’s resistance to traffic should be at one end of the Broadway in Letchworth while the first roundabout in the UK is to be found at the other!

The art installation had quite a playful aspect and at night the spheres appeared to float on the jets of water. It had rather mixed reviews from the residents of Letchworth, but Mark Prescott the creative producer of Letchworth’s Garden City Heritage Foundation said that he hoped people had enjoyed: ‘ a different perspective on this beautiful sight.’

One former resident, Helen Gilbert, a post-graduate Architecture student at London South Bank University, who grew up in Letchworth and has just completed her dissertation on the Garden City, commented: ‘The installation is an interesting reference to Ebenezer Howard’s revolutionary traffic ideas, but is rather simplistic in concept.’

Aurora Corio