Lily Clark’s water fountains offered a moment of sensorial escapism at Design Miami 2022

Design Miami 2022: Lily Clark’s ‘Farallon’ water fountains, part of the Stroll Garden installation, combine modernist inspiration and hydro engineering

Lily Clark fountains photographed in the Red Hill Quarry in the California desert
Lily Clark's 'Farallon' fountains photographed in the Red Hill Quarry in the California desert
(Image credit: Courtesy Stroll Garden and Lily Clark)

Lily Clark’s geometric ceramic water fountains, exhibited with Stroll Garden at Design Miami 2022, offered a small dose of unsolicited ’blue mind’ to the public (blue mind is the concept that being in or near water puts people in a mildly meditative state). The 'Farallon' series was presented next to works from the gallery’s fellow artists, Raina Lee, Jane Yang-D’Haene, and studio Prísma – in the form of a Southern California-inspired garden landscape; an unexpected treat for visitors looking to zone out into the sensorial zen space.

Lily Clark: ‘Farallon‘ at Design Miami 2022

Lily Clark fountains

(Image credit: Courtesy Stroll Garden and Lily Clark)

The ceramic artist and designer is represented by the Los Angeles-based gallery, which showcases mainly female artists using material exploration and experimentation to formulate their design-making process through sculpture, ceramics, and design.

Water has always been the main protagonist in Clark’s work. Growing up by the Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles, her fascination with the fluid element and the majestic concrete structures built to distribute it has been a mainstay in her life. This led to an interest in hydro engineering and she continued delving deeper into the mechanical aspects, researching hydro technology like the Archimedes screw used in ancient Greece, to streamline modern-day dams built throughout the US. She began creating her own tools and experimenting with her own system of manipulating water in small-scale compositions.

Lily Clark portrait with white fountain

(Image credit: Courtesy Stroll Garden and Lily Clark)

Using clean lines, geometric shapes, and flat surfaces, Clark puts her graphic design background on display as she finely tunes these clay objects to create the desired water flow and sound. Her fountain designs have also been indirectly influenced by the iconic modernist homes present as backdrops in the memories of her native LA.

In this new collection for Stroll Garden, Clark moves slightly away from the more rigid profiles and brings in softer shapes. The new ‘Farallon‘ water fountains and bird baths, made of unglazed clay to contrast with the glassy sheen of water, feature hand-picked stones sourced from the Gulf of Baja in La Paz, where the San Andreas Fault has pulled away Baja California from Mexico. This land separation is an ongoing process and the stones on the respective shores serve as a reminder of this powerful geological phenomenon. The beach pebbles, which slot perfectly into the vessels’ surface like graphic illustrations, have been carefully refined by Clark, whose intense curiosity for water erosion faithfully informs her craft and visual narrative.

Lily Clark fountains

(Image credit: Courtesy Stroll Garden and Lily Clark)

Having recently relocated her practice to June Lake, a further drive inland into the California desert, the artist has shifted her research towards the ancient oceanic Farallon plate, for which she’s named the three-piece fountain series. Landscapes of dry earth, silky mud, and sporadic pockets of volcanic springs are pervasive scenes in Clark’s California land: a geological journey of juxtaposed and tactile qualities that clearly hold a special place in her oeuvre. All in all, Clark presents rich, thoughtful, multi-layered water sculptures that both delight the senses, and stimulate a desire for impactful conceptual work.

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Originally hailing from Puerto Rico, Maria Sobrino spent seven years with Wallpaper* as an interiors stylist. These days you can find her enjoying a dinner al fresco at her Miami MiMo apartment on Biscayne Bay, or riding her scooter around Miami in search of beautiful things, both exterior and interior.