Cutting Edge Pool Designs
by james servin
Luxury is as important as ever, but at pools throughout the Hamptons, it is expressed more subtly through highly refined materials, state-of-the-art systems, and, most significantly, eco-friendliness. “The underlying current trend in all design is sustainability and green technology,” says landscape architect Chris LaGuardia of LaGuardia Design. “The pool industry has embraced this trend. The use of solar heating systems, automatic covers, variable speed pumps, LED lighting, and salt chlorine generators are all new energy-saving trends that were not readily used 10 years ago.”
Smart use of energy management is not only good for the environment, it’s also great for the pool owner. Chris Hall of Casual Water says that installing an eco-friendly pool “will pay for itself” with savings of hundreds of dollars a year.
More than just an added amenity, today’s Hamptons pool is a key component in the design of an entire property. It is neither a lavish focal point nor an afterthought. Big rectangles, up to 75 feet, perfect for afternoon lounging and morning laps, are the preferred shape. “Everyone wants an infinity pool; the pond-shaped pool is out,” says John Tortorella of J. Tortorella Custom Gunite Pools.
“Our firm approaches pool design from a larger context—it is not the pool but rather the space and environment that is created with the pool,” says LaGuardia. “The pool is an enrichment element to the space.”
“The words ‘clean and simple’ and ‘less is more’ come up in nearly every meeting with clients,” adds Greg Darvin, owner of Pristine Pools. “A pool is a significant investment and becomes the property’s cornerstone that the rest of the outdoor spaces—seating, lounging, dining areas—develop off of. You have to be careful about placement because it can cut a yard in half. Style, material, and architecture are all taken into account when designing so that the pool integrates with the aesthetic of the home.”
Other current pool trends include interior finishes made of highly polished plasters, recycled glass, and pebbles instead of the traditional streaky marble dust. Pebble Tec, created with pebbles from around the world, is stain-resistant and has a natural, nonslip texture, says Hall. In-demand materials for the coping (the stone that frames the perimeter of the pool) include bluestone and limestone.
“It’s a really exciting time in pools, it really is; the technology today is pretty intense,” says Tortorella, who favors another recent industry development— the self-monitoring pool. Apps developed by Pentair Water and other pool manufactures have come a long way in the past five years; now a pool owner can check chlorine levels, adjust the temperature, view the pool on previously installed video cameras, and turn on lights or the hot tub—all via an iPhone. Says Tortorella, “If I’m out to dinner, and I want to turn the spa on so it warms up, I can do that from a restaurant.”
photography by Gordon M. Grant (pristine pools)