What is a Flowform?

If you are wondering what a Flowform is… don’t worry. You’re not alone.

This website will aim to fully explain the concepts by looking at the past and future.

John Wilkes is the mastermind behind the Flowform technology. John looked to nature and mathematics for natural rhythmic pulses.

Using biomimicry, John could inject rhythm into the water to increase its capacity to support life.

Flowform vessels allow water to flow through them in a sustained, rhythmic flow. This is due to the vessel’s shape.


The Flowforms’ shaped surfaces act as a sympathetic force on the water inside them, creating swinging or pulsing motions. Even though water flows in a steady stream, this happens. This process can be described as creating rhythmic air movement and thus the sound in a wind instrument. These forms are often developed through a lot of experimentation. Each flowform design may require months to perfect. It’s like tuning an instrument.


There are many options for expressing rhythmic flow. This spectrum has been explored in many different ways. Some are very elegant and pleasing artistically, others more functional. The Flowform work is viewed from the artistic side as the unfolding of this series of water sculptures that embody the same idea aesthetically.

FlowForm Applications

Possible Flowform applications include:

  • Biological sewage disposal
  • Municipal swimming pool features
  • School landscape features
  • Public parks
  • City center installations
  • Atriums
  • Patios
  • Public sculpture
  • Bird sanctuary
  • Private gardens
  • Drinking water treatment
  • Irrigation
  • Food processing
  • Farm slurry treatment
  • Germination
  • Therapy baths
  • Hotel features
  • Fruit juice treatments
  • Cattle drinking water
  • Fish breeding

So as you can see after reading the list above, the uses for Flowforms is long and only growing over time. If you’re intrigued, keep checking back as we add more articles on John Wilkes and his amazing work.

View a Flowform in Action

Sometimes it is best to see an unfamiliar concept rather than explain it. Check out the video below to see what a Flowform looks like in action.

This phenomenon was discovered over 40 years ago. Since then, many designs have been developed. Flow forms have delicate water movements, which can be used in small enclosed spaces. However, large shapes also move vigorously and liven up large open areas. Some movements evoke a heartbeat while others resemble slow ‘breathing.’ Some produce a musical tinkling, while others make waves that lap on the shoreline. These abilities have been beneficial in school settings and therapeutic situations.

The book below by John Wilkes will explain this concept more fully:

John Wilkes (1930-2011).

He studied sculpture at The Royal College of Art, London. He also met George Adam (and Theodor Schwenk) during this time. Wilkes was a member of Adams and Schwenk at Germany’s Institute for Flow Sciences. He began to study the flow and rhythms of water and eventually created the Flowform. Wilkes was also a researcher and restorer of Rudolf Steiner’s architectural and sculptural models at Emerson College. He was also the Director at the Virbela Rhythm Research Institute.

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