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WET Design Runs Rings Around Rivals

It’s not often that a local company has the opportunity to entertain the masses on the world’s biggest sports stage with a product made entirely in the Valley. But that’s exactly what happened when WET Design, a Sun Valley design firm perhaps best known for the Fountains of Bellagio at the hotel in Las Vegas, created a piece for the Sochi Olympics. Its 700,000-gallon Waters of Olympic Park, adjacent to the Olympic cauldron, dazzled visitors with a synchronized display of lights, fog and water in the shape of the five Olympic rings – choreographed to the music of Russian composers such as Peter Tchaikovsky. At night, it creates a twinkling stars effect. “They were looking for the Russian Olympics to make a statement with the fountain,” said company Vice President Teresa Powell-Caldwell. WET Design got the opportunity last April when a client introduced it to Russian company Stroi International, which had a contract to create the cauldron in Olympic Park. Stroi commissioned WET Design for the fountain. The company can’t discuss the project budget or its fees due to a non-disclosure agreement. But it was given “100 percent creative control” Powell-Caldwell said. Design work started immediately and all engineering and manufacturing took place over the summer at its 10847 Sherman Way plant. Many of the fountain’s elements contain technology trademarked by WET Design, including 246 MiniShooters and six HyperShooters, which send water jets up to 200 feet in the air, and 663 RioLight LED lights that create simulated fireworks in the 247-foot diameter fountain. All the components were air shipped to Russia and installation began in November. A staff of 10 WET employees will remain in Sochi until the end of the Paralympics Games for disabled athletes – which traditionally follow the Olympics – on March 17. The fountain will stay at its site permanently. WET Design was founded in 1983 by a handful of former Disney Imagineers. Over the past 30 years its noteworthy works have included the Dubai Fountain at Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates, the largest fountain in the world. The Waters of Olympic Park is its first Russian project but second for an Olympic Games. It designed the 120-foot cauldron for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. “We love to do these projects,” Powell-Caldwell said. – Rosie Downey

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