Friday, June 08, 2007

Watch Ed Uhlir Climb a Ladder!

While the Chicago Tribune remains usually clueless about how to put a newspaper on the web, routinely stripping illustrations from the web versions of print stories as if they were hoarding gold, every so often they drop a hint that they may actually be learning.

That was the case with a great article in Thursday's print edition by Emily Nunn that goes behind the scenes at Millennium Park's Crown Fountain, with illustrations depicting the complex matrix of plumbing, structure and electronics that create the Fountain's serene presence.

And - wonders of wonders - the web version is actually better, with a Flash presentation combining drawings, photos and animations to demonstrate how the fountain works. The centerpiece is a video where the park's Director of Design Edward Uhlir gives a tour of the workaday guts that make the beautiful surfaces possible. It's mostly Uhlir's narration over a sequence of revealing but static shots, but in the back end Uhlir emerges from his grotto to quietly bask in the joy that sculptor Jaime Plensa's artistry and Kreuck and Sexton's architecture liberates from jaded city dwellers as the simple, childhood act of splashing in a water puddle becomes a civic celebration.

See it here.

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