Amusing Monday: Faucets seem to hang in mid-air as water runs

They call them magical floating faucets in the United States, but I’ve also seen them called floating taps, spigots or spouts. The illusion is one of a faucet floating in the air and producing a stream of water with no apparent source.

“Tap Fountain” in Cala Galdana, Spain
Photo: Cala Menorca tourism promotion

They have been created as decorative, amusing fountains in all sizes — from tabletop models, which you can purchase or make yourself, to giant sculptures that can be viewed from a distance or as close as you wish to get.

Large faucet fountains seem to be popular in Spain, where the “iconic red tap” marks the starting point of a large water slide outside the Tobogan restaurant in Cala Galdana, a resort town on the island of Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea. A Resort Guide to Cala Galdana, which includes a photo of the red tap, creates an exciting invitation to this locale. I wasn’t able to find the name of the artist who created the sculpture.

A silver faucet fountain in El Puerto de Santa Maria, located in southwest Spain, is said to be the work of the late French sculptor Philippe Thill. It might, however, be a floating faucet inspired by Thill, whose website (archived) shows a similar piece titled “Insolate Fountain” along with other water-related sculptures.

“Magic tap” in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain.
Photo: Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada, Wikimedia Commons

Another magical faucet, this one in gold, can be found in Technopark Winterthur, a business park designed for startup companies in Winterthur, Switzerland. I can’t find any additional information about the sculpture beyond its location provided by photographer Bill Liao.

The website “Amusing Planet” tracked down nine photos of magical faucets in all colors and styles, including those from Belgium, England and Canada, as well as Spain and Switzerland, plus one from Wisconsin in the U.S. A few are temporary structures, such as a pink faucet at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in London.

A tall magical faucet can be found in a business park in Winterthur Switzerland.
Photo: Bill Liao, Creative Commons

A video titled “23 Cool Sculptures You Won’t Believe Actually Exist” includes one of the hanging faucets along with numerous other creative and amusing artworks worthy of a careful look. I only wish that some of the more dynamic pieces would have included videos to show their movements.

If you haven’t figured it out, the illusion is created by supporting the faucet with a pipe or tube that connects to the spout. Water runs up through the tube and down the outside, keeping the tube hidden. The illusion works best when the supporting pipe is transparent.

If your muse is captured by these magical dangling faucets, you can actually purchase a tabletop version. At least two different models are offered by the manufacturer Sunnydaze through various online retailers. My favorite is shown in the first video below.

Finally, if you wish to enlist your creative side, the last video shows you the basics of how to build one of these unique fountains. It would make for a nice conversation piece — although I would advise searching for a wider variety of videos and photos to see other creative presentations. This project doesn’t look too difficult, and I’ve enjoyed having little fountains of running water around my home.

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