Conrad Pickel Studio, Inc.
Conrad Pickel Studio, Inc.

Royal Palm Pointe, Vero Beach, Florida

Who: City of Vero Beach
Where: Indian River Lagoon, Vero Beach, FL
What: Interactive Mosaic Fountain
When: Completed Spring 2001

Case: The Barber Bridge used to be one of the most prominent landmarks in Vero Beach. Spanning the Indian River Lagoon, the drawbridge used to connect the mainland with the barrier island and was a high traffic thoroughfare for the city. When the bridge was replaced by a newer bridge to the north, local shop owners lost a lot of business. The owners approached the city of Vero Beach and asked them to develop the area to attract more customers.

Urban Resources, an environmental group, drew up plans to revitalize the area. They would call it Royal Palm Pointe. They would repave the road making it a one-way route to the tip of the peninsula and back. The sidewalk would be wide enough for exercise seekers to walk, jog or ride their bikes. After doing a tremendous amount of research and planning, Urban Resources was granted approval.

Click here for a map of the area

Challenge: What could Pickel Studio do to design an interactive art feature appealing, appropriate and exciting to all age groups and keep them coming back?

Players: City of Vero Beach - Council members, City Officials, the Mayor
Urban Resources - Architects
Contractors - Contractors
Conrad Pickel Studio - Artwork - Mosaic/Icons
Sharon Sexton - Artist for Pillars

Teamwork: With extraordinary cooperation between the above team members, the project was developed over more than a three- year period to provide Vero Beach with a wonderful, unique park for everyone to enjoy.

Entrance sign: The tone was set by the impressive entrance sign at the Royal Palm Pointe intersection. Pickel Studio designed a palm tree mosaic for each side of the sign.

Process: Paul Pickel used the theme of a colorful spiral sun with bright flames celebrating in all directions. He worked intricately with Urban Resources and the contractors, detailing the exact placement of the mosaic smalti, fault lines and fountain heads.

Paul Pickel and several artists from Pickel Studio also designed ten mosaic circles to surround the fountain. The circles depict wildlife and symbols of Indian River county such as diving dolphins, a mother and her baby manatee, sea turtles heading toward the ocean and a compass which really does point north correctly. One circle playfully incorporates a juicy orange rind into a sunset circle to show off the world famous Indian River Citrus. First full size drawings of each icon were done in watercolor.

Palm Pointe banner

The artwork from the icons was used to make banners which lined the street for the Grand Opening.

Once the full size drawings were approved, the cartoons were sent to Italy where master mosaic artisans hand chipped each piece and glued each one to a paper backing. Then, when completed on paper they were shipped back to Vero Beach. By this time, the hole had been dug, the fountain plumbing had been laid and the concrete foundations had been poured.

Several layers of fresh cement and sand mixtures were poured and set in preparation for the smalti mosaic. Finally, it was time to begin the installation.

After weeks of setting, grouting and cleaning the mosaics were finished. Meanwhile, the city continued to complete electricity, a complicated water show system, lights, landscaping, signs, fencing and furniture details.

Grand opening

Aerial view

Aerial View of Completed Fountain Before Grand Opening

More than 6000 people turned out to celebrate the Grand Opening of Royal Palm Pointe. The Vero Beach High School band was on hand as well as street perfomers.

Recent news:

The fountain was receiving so many visitors every day last summer that the city decided to hire lifeguard and PR person Paula. She kept a daily log of number of visitors, suggestions and public comments.

Summary: With hundreds of visitors each day, whether they feel like cooling off or just sitting under one of the shaded tables watching the water dance, they will be entertained by Royal Palm Pointe and its interactive fountain.

Copyright © 2004-2005 Conrad Pickel Studio, Inc.
Vero Beach, Florida