Swimming pools are moving to a new level of achievement. They are becoming works of art. For the past twenty years or so the workings of the pool have been steadily improved. Technology has helped with pumps, fountains, jets, lighting, filtration systems, covers, automatic cleaning systems. In that sense, pools today are part of a revolution that has happened.
Normally, when a pool is finished the interior is plain white or plain blue. (A rough survey suggests that this is the case over 90 percent of the time.)
Add water to a white or blue lined swimming pool and the interior appears blue. Not an unattractive blue. A bright translucent blue. A blue that is replicated in almost every swimming pool in the world.
There are some owners, perhaps a majority, who would like their pools to be different, to make a statement.
Ways of doing this include changing the shape of the pool. Make it oval, curved, elliptical, L-shaped. Build features - a fountain, a vanishing edge. Add a spa, a hot pool, a cold pool.
Another way is to landscape the surrounding gardens. Make the pool appear as if it is a part of a natural setting. (True, that swimming pool blue is still an issue but we will get to that later.)
Add substance to the surrounds, the decking - wood, ceramic - anything that is kind to the feet but not slippery. Bring the landscape to the pool, have it overlap the pool in places, include the pool in the landscaping.
But the pool itself, the water container, no matter how it is surrounded, how many features are added, is normally not an artistic statement. It has no visual appeal apart from looking invitingly cool on a hot day.
Is there a way around this? A way to make the interior of the pool an attraction, an art form in its own right. To let the pool make a spectacular artistic statement.
Most customers do not know all of the alternatives that exist. Yes, they can change the colour the interior of the pool is finished with - although most of them do not. And when it is changed, it is usually changed to another 'single' colour. Have the inside of the pool a medium yellow and the water will look green. Better, perhaps, than swimming pool blue but still a plain, single-coloured statement.
Two ways of getting around this. One is glass (usually in the form of mosaics) and the other ceramics. Both materials are available, applicable and durable. Applied to a pool they primarily decorate. And, it can be argued, they make maintenance somewhat easier and extend the durability and life of the pool.
The pictures that accompany this article show the scope and breadth of swimming pool decoration. These pools were decorated using handmade ceramics.
The word handmade is important. Because of this no two pools are the same. It is easily demonstrated that when pools are decorated with handmade ceramics each of the pools is unique. Nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. But critically for the owner, the architect, the designer, using handmade ceramics transforms the interior of the pool into a large and open canvas in which the decking and garden around the pool are the frame.
And because such a pool can only be designed after consultation with the client the pool design becomes an outward manifestation of the client's inward aspirations. It is uniquely theirs. Their fingerprint on the landscape in which they live. Their statement to the world. The portrait of their needs, longings, achievements rendered in the design of the interior of a swimming pool.
There is simply no other way of declaring artistic individuality that approaches this.
Think of a swimming pool as a large blank canvas on which a client can project totally their own artistic individuality. And then you will realize the inherent possibilities of hand-made, specially designed, ceramic tile pools.