Water Fountain in Nierstein

Water Fountain at the Market Place Nierstein

A walk-in water fountain

Inaugural Celebration 2003

Draft for the Water Fountain for von Nierstein

Shaping rings in a mold

Trimming the beveled surface on the potter's wheel

Drying process

Reduction firing in a gas kiln up to 1260° C

Stone dressing

Installation of the market place water fountain

30 ceramic rings

“Wherever water flows, so too do life and communication because wherever there is water, there are people who will come together.”
Ulrich Witzmann designed a fountain for the historic market square of the Rhine-Hesse town of Nierstein, a focal meeting place for the people of Nierstein and the tourists who travel along the Rhine as well. The middle point of the fountain is a10 foot tall beveled ceramic tower, down which water perpetually cascades and forms fascinating waves.
In the summer, children can come to sail their miniature ships in the fountain’s sparkling waters. The stone blocks, which surround the fountain, provide a perfect place for visitors to sit and rest.

The spiral formation created by the chain of sandstone blocks represents the individual and collective events, oral histories and traditions of Nierstein. The artist purposefully selected the many of the very same materials which can be found throughout the town in the doorways and window sills of the traditional houses. The color, hue, and texture of the individually chosen sandstone blocks imbue the fountain with true vitality and natural energy.
The spiral form of the market fountain is reminiscent of the original pathway of the Rhine River as it meandered along its ancient riverbed. Small yellow ceramic stones represent the tiny nuggets of Rhine gold that were once to be found throughout Nierstein. The red hue of the sandstone symbolizes the blush of the surrounding vineyards.
The splashing waters atop the large column of the fountain represent the healing waters of the nearby Sirona Springs.
Next to the fountain, the artist included an accompanying stone block ensemble with further imagery inspired by Nierstein’s geography and history. On two sides of the stone block, there appear the symbol of the famous vineyards of the “Roten Hang” as well as the local church steeple in relief. The official Nierstein coat of arms is featured on the third side.
The triangular stones offer visitors a comfortable place to sit and to tell their own stories. The stones are situated around the fountain and represent the hulls of the ships which frequent the Rhine. The diagonal arrangement of the blue stones further symbolizes the waves that undulate across the bows of the nearby ships which sail along the Rhine.
For interested viewers, the expressive power of the artist’s symbolism is featured on an embedded metal plaque.