The winners of Pool Design Awards 2018 explain how a swimming pool becomes exceptional

29 Apr 2019

During the Piscine Global Europe 2018 fair, the architects of five exceptional and sumptuous swimming pools received distinctions during the Pool Design Awards. But when does a swimming pool become an amazing one? To find out we questioned two award winners, Paul-Louis Imbaud (Brochet Lajus Pueyo agency) and Alberto Apostoli (Studio Apostoli).

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Swimming pool conceived by Studio Apostoli

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Swimming pool conceived by Agence Brochet Lajus Pueyo

Piscine Global Europe: What makes a swimming pool exceptional? Is there an amazing pool you particularly admire?

Paul-Louis Imbaud: Our Company thinks it is crucial to pay as much attention to detail with pools as with museums and that there is every reason to treat each project with the same approach. We believe that light is an essential factor. Views over nearby and far off surroundings are also important. In the case of our award-winning pool, the panorama over an exceptional Natura 2000 protected area, in which nature varies with the seasons and the tides was a major plus. An amazing swimming pool that I particularly admire was designed by Dominique Coulon for Bagneux, France. In 2014, he changed our ideas of what a public swimming pool should be! Spaces there are unexpected and everything is very well controlled and surprising!

See Paul-Louis Imbaud’s winning design for the most beautiful municipal pool

Alberto Apostoli: For me, as a designer, the most important factor is the integration of a swimming pool into its surroundings. The shapes, dimensions and materials used must respect the site - a concept ancient Rome called “Genius Loci”. We are currently working on a project close to Rome (Civitavecchia Thermae). This water park has exceptional sea views and the site has an amazing cultural heritage. The pools were designed to blend into their environment as far as possible! If this project is accepted, it will be probably be the one I admire the most!

See Alberto Apostoli’s winning design for the most beautiful Tourism and Leisure pool

What inspires your swimming pool designs?

Paul-Louis Imbaud: The sobriety of noble, durable, materials must speak to visitors. This is not merely a question of a purely technical and functional building meeting standards and a program. The project must have “heart” and tell a story through the architectural choices. Architecture should not follow fashion, but reflect a time, a site, a history, a geography, etc. These are the elements which nourish the design of a swimming pool. 

Alberto Apostoli: Usually, the swimming pools designed by my firm are part of a vaster project, like a hotel or a spa. The swimming pool is not a stand-alone construction but part of a global design. The design of a swimming pool thus depends on the structure into which it will be integrated!

Case study: Converting an existing building into a public swimming pool

What benefits did your company gain from the Pool Design Awards 2018 prize you won?

Paul-Louis Imbaud: We are a multi-disciplinary company and not “specialized” in water park design in the sense that it is not our main activity. However, we do have about ten references in pools. The Pool Design Awards brought us recognition in this field for our work carried out in recent years and visibility with prospective owners. The award enabled us to consolidate and confirm our presence in water park programs!

Alberto Apostoli: The swimming pool we presented for the Pool Design Awards 2018 is very elegant. I think that what convinced the jury to reward our work was the panorama it offers. Although this prize has not opened any doors yet, it has significantly improved our brand awareness and is an additional argument in converting prospects into customers!

There are hosts of approaches to design pools. Integrating pools into their surroundings and the views towards the outside are nevertheless the most important factors in creating amazing swimming pool projects!


© Photo credit:  Studio Apostoli /Lorenzo Crasnich
Agence Brochet Lajus Pueyo /Jean-François Tremege

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