The Ross Fountain was originally designed and produced in the late C19th at the iron foundry of Antoine Durenne in Sommevoire, France. It was displayed as a key exhibit at the Great Exhibition of 1862 in London. Following the exhibition in 1822, the fountain structure was purchased by local Edinburgh gunmaker Daniel Ross for the sum of £2,000 and subsequently gifted to the City of Edinburgh. Rebuilt in Edinburgh, the fountain has been installed in current position in West Princes Street Gardens since 1872.

FOTO-MA Lighting Architect’s initial concept for the lighting design for the restored Grade A Listed, Scheduled Ancient Monument, The Ross Fountain was to aim to keep the lighting as simple, classic and subtle as possible, using only warm white light (to ensure that the existing coloured lighting of Edinburgh Castle adjacent retains its dominance in the lit Edinburgh environment) and with all new led lighting integrated into the fountain structure and fountain pools.

The new lighting scheme utilises low energy, state of the art, waterproof IP68 LED warm white lighting with all stainless steel spotlights integrated into the fountain structure and submerged within the fountain pools. As all the lighting is located within the water a beautiful shimmering and pulsing effect is created over the fountain after dark as beams of light project ripples and waves created by the wind and the splashes of the fountain jets. It is a simple but magical effect.

As the Fountain had already been dismantled and removed for restoration by the time that FOTO-MA were appointed no lighting site testing was possible – Freehand sketch lighting concepts quickly moved to using 3DS real world lighting analysis and virtual testing using a photo-real 3D digital survey by HES/CDDV. Without a tangible real structure the CGI 3D work was an invaluable tool to allow testing of lighting effects and ideas. At an early stage in the design process clients and design team were able to view photo-real images of the lighting design effects as proposed. The lighting design also involved Revit CGI coordination.

IP68 sealed LED spot lighting has been introduced submerged within the two outer pools and within the upper fountain bowls. In the lower pools all lights are fitted within protective spherical graphite cast covers and fed via 20mm diameter sealed conduit infrastructure that feeds through and under the concrete foundation screeds into the dry fountain central core space. Within the central core all cables are taken to a sub ground concrete plant space to 24V led drivers within sealed heated cabinets.

Restoration and new LED lighting installation works were completed and formally switched on following an eighteen month design and construction period on 1 November 2018. The project has been spearheaded by The Ross Development Trust and funded by private funding to save and restore and revitalise what was a failing public realm monument for everyone’s enjoyment.