Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™
Pools as an art form - the way it should be!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It is all in the details...

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa
Paolo Benedetti

A client once described my job as an "aquatic artist," where I get to create art with fluids (water) & solids (stones, tiles, concrete, & steel). But I must add, that it is in the details that separate a mobile home from custom home, a Maybach from a Prius, and a cookie cutter pool from a commissioned design. An off the shelf item @ WalMart will never compare to an item that is custom designed around & for the owner.

Personalized details, whether it is a hand measured, cut & tailored suit, a custom home, hand crafted & fit Italian leather shoes, or an architectural pool, take forethought, planning, lots of supervision, and time.... and don't forget money!

The forethought means that the designer knows from experience, training, and sometimes their natural intuition, what to ask of the client. Being able to interview a client & get them to reveal personal details about themselves, is the hardest part of gathering the information. Some clients don't want to reveal personal details and others simply do not understand the importance of "getting inside their heads." The best client, is the one who will reveal the truthful answer to any question posed.

Why would I ask if they skinny dip? or if their family medical history includes diseases that may create mobility issues in future years? or if they are planning on getting married? or having children?

I have had multi-billionaire clients look at me in disbelief, because I had audacity to ask such questions. Though they were prepared for these type of questions (or so their assistants told me they were), these questions are important!

If their pool experience is often sans swimsuits, then I have to be concerned with the lines of sight from the neighbors, paparazzi, even low flying aircraft. I may situate the spa closer to the master bedroom, to reduce the "exposure" across the yard. I may include overhanging elements to block cameras in helicopters. For privacy and security concerned clients, I may even camouflage elements of the design, so that they are not readily recognizable to satellites (Who's concerned with satellites?? Have you ever played with Google Earth, and viewed a virtual 3-D image of a location?).

If they have genetic issues that may cause mobility issues or the future need for aquatic therapy, then I have to consider access issues - and I may propose a ramp/beach entry or shorter steps, and will definitely rough in anchor points for future handrails. Is the project to be a swinging bachelor pad or a love nest?? Does it have to be made compatible for children?

These questions are necessary, as it allows the project to be designed with the clients planned future lifestyle changes in mind. It allows the project to seamlessly evolve with the changing lifestyle - and done properly it should eliminate the future need to remodel the project because it is dated or they "outgrew it's usefulness."

After being armed with the necessary information, the design can be created around the client. I cannot plan for the future, the client's lifestyle changes, the peeping paparazzi, or even avoid the clients least favorite color, if I am not armed with the that information. The designer needs to get to know the client... and this may mean a couple of meetings, meals, or a glass of wine (or 2 or 3 glasses of wine!).

Planning.... preparing for the future. The designer can specify the infrastructure to support the future changes that the client anticipates. It is easier to install the utilities for future site development while the property is being excavated. It is much less expensive to install the anchors for future handrails & handicapped lifts, speaker conduits, lighting circuits, and control systems while the yards is "opened up." It is "pennywise & pound foolish" to try to install any of these elements after the concrete & stonework has been completed.

It order to coordinate & ensure a flawless execution of the details, there must be a lot of supervision during the "build-out" of the project. This is so that the designer can communicate with the craftsmen & installers, exactly what they were envisioning. They have to be able to get it out of their head, into the installers head, and then into creation! It is impossible to include every tiny minutia into a set of plans. Some details need to be expressed & specified during the installation - some others, the client needs to see as they are being installed. An example is the adjacent tile rosetta pattern around spa jets... it might be a insignificant detail that the client would otherwise pass on, if it is discussed while the project was being planned. But when the project is being installed, when they can actually see the difference, the client can weigh the importance of the detail. The client can actually see the difference between individually miter cut tiles, and the lazier, faster & easier way of just fanning them out, thereby creating wider spaced pie-shaped grout joints.

Like a fine wine... good things take time to age. A quality job cannot be rushed - PERIOD! For example, there is no way to speed the curing of concrete, grout, thinsets, or other cementitious materials. Through proper scheduling, these mandatory periods can be happening while other activities occur. Additionally, fine craftsmanship simply cannot be done on a production line. Fine details are elevated to an artform!

Money... what more needs to be said? Fine details, close supervision, and increased production time all contribute to higher expenses & overhead. But, the finished product is a true work of art, one that will exceed the owners highest expectations! And like art, it is a personal expression of the owner - something that only the owners can place a value on. These are priceless works of art - ones' that can only be replaced at tremendous cost.

It's all in the details... and after all, don't you deserve the best that life has to offer?

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist
"Creating water as art."™
Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa