Volcano Fountain

Fountain of joy – Gulf Today – Short Take Dt 21 February 2015

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Fountain of joy
The famous Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2015 is happening in Abu Dhabi now. The event has a deep-rooted history connected with the country and in particular Abu Dhabi.
It was my honour to be associated with it as the festival had a special section to recreate and present the Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the UAE exhibited at the famous Venice Architectural Biennale.
The national pavilion of the UAE was the exact replica of what was exhibited and my exhibits on one of the architectural marvels that existed in Abu Dhabi from 1984 – 2004: the Volcano Fountain were present in it.
On one of the days, I was invited to a presentation and an interactive workshop on it to share my memories and exhibits.
It was a working day and I was keen to be there early and awaited my audience. The crowd started coming in small numbers. As we started interacting, an elderly national and his children came to attend. He was not comfortable following the English presentation and a lady volunteer helped him with the translation.
As he blended with the subject, there came a chest of knowledge treasure from him. He was in the army for a long time and told us about those days when there was absolutely no modern facilities. The then Ruler late Sheikh Zayed is said to have drawn plans with his sticks on the sand and corrected the architects whenever things were not done as per his plans.
By the end of the session, it was one of the most memorable interactions we ever had on the subject in the recent times. We were excited to listen to the way he carried his memories and conveyed to us as well as his children and grandchildren who were with him.
We all wished and enlivened the day when the new Volcano Fountain will come into existence in the new developments happening in Abu Dhabi.
Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today – Short Take – Dt 21 February 2015
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Workshop on Volcano Fountain @ Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2015

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On Monday, 16th February 2015, 3 sessions were held yesterday. More photos to follow. Thanks to all those who participated.

Lest We Forget – Interactive Workshop on Volcano Fountain

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Dear Friends,
You are invited to attend an interactive workshop conducted by me on “Volcano Fountain”.
Date: Monday, 16th February 2015
Time: 7:00 to 09:00 pm
Venue: Lest We Forget exhibition section at Qasr Al Hosn (Cultural Foundation)
Organised by: Michele Bambling, Curator for the UAE National Pavilion at Venice Biennale.
Share your experiences, bring photos or videos of the nostalgic architechtural marvel which once used to be the happening place in Abu Dhabi.
Looking forward to see you,


UAE pavilion – Gulf Today – Short Take – 7 June 2014

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UAE pavilion

It was the partial realisation of a big dream. As the saying goes, if you dream, dream big, I was silently and consistently putting my efforts to rekindle the memories of the volcano fountain in Abu Dhabi.
The Architecture Biennale 2014 was officially opened on June 5 and the UAE pavilion stood out by displaying the right blend of modern and ancient architectural history of the UAE.
The curatorial team with the blessings of Sheikha Salama Foundation has done a great job.
Accepting and attending the opening ceremony also was an opportunity to meet several contributors who worked to make the UAE pavilion worth the visit for those interested in architecture and history.
The Venice biennale will run till Nov.23. Why not plan Venice as your holiday destination this year?
Train, boats, lovely canals and countryside and now the UAE pavilion in biennale.
Ramesh Menon, Venice

Gulf Today – Short Take, 7 June 2014

Lest we forget – Short Take – Gulf Today, 17th May 2014

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Lest we forget

It was a small gathering of people who came with passion and emotion for the nation. The Talk Show, “Lest We Forget – Structures of Memory in the UAE” was organised by the curator and research team of The National Pavilion of the UAE for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale, discussing the upcoming exhibition that presents a retrospective of the architectural history of the UAE from 1914-2014, with an emphasis on modern heritage buildings.
Those who attended were of different age groups. Some as young as in the 20s and some others in their late 60s. The age difference made no difference to their emotional feelings towards the country they lived in.
The UAE grew steadily and strongly during these 100 years. During the process, all missed the transformation from the olden to modern times during which several changes were made within and outside cities and villages.
The once famous Toyota Crowns, Carinas and Cressidas gave way to new models. The fixed rate taxis gave way to metered taxis. Many traditional souqs gave way to modern markets.
The conventional camel race within the boundaries of once harmoniously spent joint family home and time was there to cherish. Some recollected with emotion how they, as little children, assisted then in the surveys that formed the basis of the modern developments.
All the prominent architectural structures of the emirates were remembered. The changes, however, were felt more deeply and emotionally on a major architectural structure of the country, that was once rated among the top ten fountains that existed in the world.
Volcano Fountain — all those who remembered it, said with one word, we would love to see it back. Little girls, who once played around it, shared fond memories of their childhood. Their thoughts and voice were unique in their wish to see it back in Abu Dhabi.
I am confident the hard work by the curatorial team of the UAE National Pavilion in Venice Biennale, that will open on June 5, will not fail in bringing the fond memories alive. It will be a great moment for the visionary leaders of the UAE.
Ramesh Menon

Short Take – Gulf Today, 17th May 2014

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online

Volcano fountain – Short Take – Gulf Today – 10th May 2014

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Volcano fountain
I love the UAE and always think of ways to contribute to the society.
Of late, I have been wondering if there is any possibility for the restoration of the historic Volcano fountain, that was there in Abu Dhabi, from the period 1984 – 2004. It was demolished and gave way to the modernisation of Abu Dhabi Corniche.
As we say, when something is there, we do not find its value, and when it is gone, we miss it very much.
Volcano Fountain, rated as one of the top 10 fountains in the world, was one such fascinating attraction.
Since 2005, I am making humble efforts to attract the attention of the authorities about its prestigious value in the architectural history of Abu Dhabi. The campaign is gaining momentum slowly and steadily.
Whoever were here during the period, and whoever were not here and watched the videos of it, say that it is one attraction that should be recreated in modern Abu Dhabi. It was a place where all nationalities once turned up to exchange pleasantries, met family and friends during weekends.
I continue to dream too, placing the Volcano Fountain among various probable scenic spots being developed within the city.
As they say, if you dream, Dream Big, and one day I wish and hope that my hope of recreating a new Volcano Fountain will come true too.
Ramesh Menon

Short Take – Gulf Today – 10th May 2014

Remembering the volcano fountain

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Remembering Abu Dhabi’s Volcano Fountain: If you are a long timer of UAE and if you cherish fond memories of the Volcano fountain, which was there in Abu Dhabi till 2004, please express your nostalgic memories as comments here. Your comments are valuable for a project on Volcano Fountain. Thanks in advance for sharing with your friends and family.

Comments received at FB: 
Rupa Wahi lot of memories attached to this fountain during 90’s wish this landmark of Abu Dhabi should have stayed….
27 April at 22:58 • Like • 1
Manvi Gupta When I first came to Abu Dhabi, newly married, young girl……..a little nervous, a lot excited…….my first night here…..my husband walked me down to this wonderful place called volcano fountain next to sea! With a light breeze blowing….and him next to me…….i felt the world belonged to me now! That place, that night, that moment and that feeling is forever etched in my heart! And so Volcano Fountain holds a very special place for me!
16 hours ago • Like
Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi – Clicks and Writes It is genius, true we miss the famous Volcano Fountain of Abu Dhabi demolished in 2004, I really regret since 35 year ago nothing is left to remember symbolic monument
I am really touched by your idea
Bravo Ramesh
Céline ABDO
about an hour ago • Like
Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi – Clicks and Writes you made me close eyes and see the place
u made me travel with my brain to remember a place that i didnt see before … TRUE I SWEAR. AmaZZZzing place and video as well,, BRAVO ! I wish I could take my baby as well from corniche hospital directly to this place : ) , your Speech was like a nice story I can tell it to my daughter about our lovely Abu Dhabi ‘The City of Peace and Affection’’ . I always say that Abu Dhabi is a never-ending love story for each one.
about an hour ago • Like
Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi – Clicks and Writes The Volcano was definitely the landmark of Abu Dhabi, it was a throbbing heart with all the fire-like lighting coming from it.
I remember during the first week of my arrival in Abu Dhabi, my relatives took me to the Corniche and precisely to the volcano fountain. This simple visit made me feel more at home and confident about coming all the way to live in an unknown place.
I was truly touched and impressed by the huge monument and its changing of colours. It was very similar to a true volcano, only that this one was harmless and soothing to the nerves.
Year after year, I got used to my new life in Abu Dhabi, it became my turn to take my guests and visitors to the volcano fountain so that they can rejoice their heart and senses.
Walking up the stairs on the volcano fountain, was an excellent exercise to old and young people, it was a family’s place, good for walking as well as sitting, while you can inhale the sea-breeze.
There was a good distance from the road, so noise and air pollution was reduced in the volcano area.
about an hour ago • Like
Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi – Clicks and Writes I can say that this land mark represented for new the vision of HH. Late Shaikh zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to see our nation as high as the mountain , flourishing it’s water( generosity ) the nearby and far people. More importantly it resembles the strength and unity of our house and it’s deep roots from the desert where the castle resemblance came from.
Sultan Al Hajji
about an hour ago • Like
Narendra Kulkarni I also remember this icon. I used to stay very close-by on Khalifa street and it is used to be routine for me to visit Volcano fountain from time time.

Ramesh Menon Abu Dhabi – Clicks and Writes
Dear Friends, Please taken 3-5 minutes, watch the video and write to me a short comment which expresses your nostalgic feelings about the once famous Volcano Fountain of Abu Dhabi, and which was demolished in 2004. I am sure, you have many.
Your comments are important, because, I have a talk on 7th May and a workshop on 10th May on this subject, and will be useful to include it in my presentation.
Thanks a million in advance,

Ramesh Menon

Abu Dhabi’s Volcano Fountain: a fire that never went out

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Abu Dhabi’s Volcano Fountain: a fire that never went out

Read more:http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/abu-dhabis-volcano-fountain-a-fire-that-never-went-out#ixzz2n8LrrFRA
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It could be a test of long-term residency. Ask anyone who has lived in Abu Dhabi for more than a decade whether they remember the Volcano Fountain and you’re likely to ignite an outpouring of memories. Built in the 1980s, elevated on a circular pier on the Corniche near the foot of Muroor, the fountain looked like something from The Flintstones, “a page right out of history”.

Or, as the Doha-based author Sophia Al Maria puts it on her blog: “Back in 1988, the Abu Dhabi Volcano Fountain rose out of the Corniche like Triton’s head. It burst out of the boardwalk like a long-submerged alien ship rising from the sea. Its scented water cascaded down through the prongs of a turret-like crown. That cement halo still floats sovereign over all my childhood memories of Abu Dhabi.”

Also known as Al Shallal (waterfall in Arabic), the stone-paved fountain, surrounded by tiered gardens with flights of stairs leading up to its base, was lit up at night to give the cascading water the appearance of lava. Vendors sold fried peanuts, fresh chips, ice cream, newspapers and balloons, and photographers snapped pictures of people posing in front of it, much as they now do at the Burj Khalifa.

The fountain was called a must-see in guidebooks and featured on Abu Dhabi postcards. More significantly, it was a gathering place for the growing city’s many nationalities, at a time when there were fewer social options and no mobile phones to arrange a spontaneous meeting place.

Meeting at the Volcano Fountain was almost a given. “It was the primary focal point for any visitor to Abu Dhabi during that time,” says Ramesh Menon, who came from Kerala to work in Abu Dhabi in 1987. He remembers it as a place where couples met for the first time, where proud parents brought their newborns from the nearby Corniche Hospital, where fellow Indians returning from home would open parcels and distribute letters. “It holds a special significance,” Menon says. “It created a lot of feelings within people.”

Jasmine Godfrey, who was born in Abu Dhabi 41 years ago, remembers many “joyous” times with her family and young friends at the landmark. “We used to spend most of our time there,” she says. “Wherever you are, you come over there to meet us.”

The fountain was also the site of National Day celebrations, the area surrounding it decorated with thousands of flags and lights. As Christine Nowell and Nick Crawley wrote in their 2001 book Now & Then: Abu Dhabi: “National Day is celebrated throughout the Emirates […] on the Corniche, young ladies in their finest dress dance in the traditional way to the dulcet tunes of the flute and drum. The events take place at the so-called ‘Volcano’ roundabout on the afternoon of the 2nd day of December and continue into the evening.”

Abu Dhabi’s Volcano Fountain wasn’t alone in the world: one was built at Honolulu International Airport in the 1960s and a more grandiose version entertains crowds at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. But Abu Dhabi’s still takes a place of honour in online lists of the world’s most beautiful fountains, along with the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

After it was demolished in 2004 as part of a redevelopment of the Corniche, Menon was taking a walk in the area and had a flash. “Why not identify a place and bring it back?” He got in touch with the Abu Dhabi Government about his idea and he believes it’s not a closed case. “They all know the value of it.”

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/abu-dhabis-volcano-fountain-a-fire-that-never-went-out#ixzz2n8LjsTxX  Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook