Fountains and First Impressions, Part 1: The Senses

One thing that you'll notice about all of the great water fountains throughout history is that they are placed in areas where they will be noticed first and foremost. They may be placed on the outside of the entrance, or they are placed just inside of the front door. Either way, they serve a purpose: Making a strong first impression is exactly why many corporations choose fountains and other water features for placement in a lobby, reception area, and more. Of course, if you own a business, you may be interested in doing the same. We'll be taking a look at some of the psychological impacts that a water feature can have, and why you may benefit from installing one in your commercial property.

Health and Clean Living

fountain.jpgIn antiquity, fountains were a source of clean, drinkable water that towns and cities could take advantage of. These days, most of the fountains that you will see are purely decorational, but they still carry the same connotations. Clean water, despite relatively recent innovations in plumbing and filtration, is still a precious resource. A fountain displays clean water in abundance, and often does so in a way that engages all five senses:

The sight of running or flowing water can immediately cue parts of the mind that associate growth, cleanliness, and health with a surrounding area. For many, the sight of water also signifies calm.

The sound of a fountain also indicates that there is “life” nearby, as plants tend to grow in and around rivers, streams, waterfalls, and other sources of water. There are also mental cues of aquatic life, which are a vital food source; combined with the fact that most major human settlements are on coasts or near large bodies of water, and those associations become more apparent.

The molecules used for smell rely on moisture to properly transfer scents to our receptors. The more moisture that is in the air, the stronger smells may be. A fountain can actually help you to control and accentuate the natural aroma of an office area, which could include light tones of citrus, leather, or stone, all of which are positive.

Touch can be improved through the presence of water. Water in an environment can actually cool temperatures in warm seasons, and carry valuable humidity during cooler, dryer weather. Both of these can be beneficial to health and one's sense of well being.

Finally, although taste isn't an obvious candidate, moisture in the air can actually enhance your ability to detect flavor. This also makes water features valuable in areas where food or beverages are being served. Even the flavor of coffee in a reception area can be improved.

With all of these benefits combined, it's easy to see how a strong first impression can be formed when a water feature is present. Even if the water feature is enclosed behind glass walls, as many area, they still provide valuable psychological cues that businesses can benefit from.