We speak to WET Design on the exciting fire and water displays that await at Atlantis The Royal Resorts and Residences.
Words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture · Sep. 9th, 2021
One of the most anticipated openings this year, Atlantis The Royal promises to be part of Dubai’s most exciting landmarks. Besides its surreal architecture, interiors, and restaurants – the resort also provides spectacle and entertainment. WET Design an integrated architecture, design, manufacturing, and engineering firm that creates water fountains and experiences all over the world. (including the Dubai Fountain), has developed the fountains and water features for visitors to the hotel and its residents to enjoy. An enigmatic display of fire and water, WET Design’s creations will make anyone’s visit to Atlantis The Royal magical. As a special feature for ‘In the Studio’, we speak to WET Design’s CEO Mark Fuller & Project Designer Andrea Silva on what to anticipate.
Q: What was your team's inspiration for the fountains and water features design? How does it correlate to the brief by the Atlantis?
A: The stunning architecture of the resort, the water views that give the resort its context, and the rich Atlantis brand itself were all inspirations for our design. The location of the resort on The Palm creates an ever-present visual connection with water, water everywhere—the bay and The Gulf are in front and on every side. We strove to make the connection to water so very physical that visitors will feel surrounded by it, both its presence and its spirit. We reinforce this connection over and over through a series of water elements along the resort’s main axis; elements that will guide visitors from their moment of entry to a climactic finale: the Horizon Feature itself. The always near presence of water expresses its power upon on us—whether experienced in quiet contemplative moments, or in the grand and spectacular show of Horizon.
The story of Atlantis is one that invites in the very opposite of water - fire. After all, water extinguishes fire, and fire boils away water. But in Atlantis these two antagonistic elements instead play together. Our entire design was inspired by the interplay of these two, and magic is created when these two wed into one experience. This is the magic of Atlantis. And Atlantis is Magic.
This project stands out in my twenty year history with WET, not only for the quality of the work, but for the enthusiastic creative camaraderie I have been part of at WET in its creation. There is a long and amazing list of talents that it takes to transform a vision like this into a reality that people will experience in real life.
From the beginning, Kerzner pushed for innovative designs that had not been experienced anywhere else in the world. The entire Atlantis team embraced and supported the development of the water and fire features as key parts of the overall Atlantis The Royal’s superb experience.
The client as well as the designers behind the project: KPF, The GA Group, Sybille de Margerie, and 40 North have made it a “dream team” to be part of, and the design process has been one exciting ride! I know in my heart that you and everyone who visits this magical place will feel this magic in the final results of the truly incredible Atlantis The Royal.
Q: What were some of the design challenges that your team has addressed?
A: Introducing fire into a water display has a myriad of challenges. As we learn from birth, water and fire do not co-exist. (Well, at least not outside of Atlantis!) We employed variety of quite sophisticated technologies to achieve our result. And all of this is married together by careful design, exhaustive testing, and WET’s many years of infusing our creations with magic.
Q: What are some of the design elements that you would like to highlight?
A: Rarely do we get to tell a complete story—not only with water, but in this case with fire as well. We had the opportunity to do this at Atlantis The Royal. These two powerful elements both greet and awe guests, from their first touch at the grand porte cochere straight through the entire resort in a series of experiences that transform each space along the main axis into a distinctive moment. Each expression—from the dynamism of the fire against walls of water in the entry, to the delicate floating water candles in the lounge—will create unforgettable impressions for those experiencing them.
The Horizon feature is one I especially can’t wait to see come to life. Though my hand created the drawings, and my mind has walked through Atlantis’s special spaces over and over, this project stands so much apart from other features in the world that I just cannot wait to experience it as real. The pallet of fire, water, and expressions of light in the features will combine under the hand of WET’s choreography into spectacles that will connect people with nature, as well as with felt magic. This feature of water and fire will shine brilliantly in the unforgettable setting of Atlantis The Royal Resort.
We paid special attention to the view of the Horizon feature as seen looking down from the residences and the rooms in the hotel. In the darkness of night—in between the feature’s performances—the water in the basin will sparkle with glimmering points of light, like stars in the heavenly sky. And during the performances, the feature will appear from above as though it were a blooming garden of grand blossoms, blossoms of both water and fire. The views from above are sights that can be had from no other vantage.
Q: What aspect of the residences are you most excited to see come to life?
A: I’m excited to see the people! Both the visitors, and the residents who will be calling this amazing project their home. One of the most rewarding things about my job as a designer of grand public features is experiencing the joy people derive from watching and experiencing our features. I am thrilled that the fountains of the Atlantis The Royal will play a part in wowing and delighting the resort’s guests, the resort’s residents and, no doubt, everyone who comes to Dubai knowing that this is a must see experience.