In Spain, a signed painting by Pablo Picasso lies at the bottom of a pool. Picasso isn’t the only painter to use a pool as his canvas and fine artists aren’t the only ones to turn pools into works of art. Pool designers, of course, have their own creative muses, conjuring up escapist masterpieces.
Some pools are seemingly gravity defying–straddling buildings, suspended in mid-air and cantilevered over cliffs. Others reflect the passions of the homeowner. Fish-shaped, boat-shaped. The pool at the mid-century Palm Springs, California, home once owned by Frank Sinatra is famously piano-shaped.
Resort-style living is in. Darvin says it’s not unusual for homeowners to model their private pools after a favorite hotel pool in Miami, Bali or the South of France. It’s Darvin’s job to scale the design to the property, adapt it to the climate and find that “sweet spot” between aesthetics and functionality.
On the Hawaiian island of Maui, Ron Silva of Island Sotheby’s International Realty says, “Most residences situate the pool with the ocean in the background so it’s one seamless look from the pool to the Pacific.” The most spectacular pools, he says, are typically those of second-home owners who gild them with extras like swim-up bars, fire bowls, rain walls and misting systems. “When people purchase their vacation home here, more often than not it’s a legacy property they plan on keeping in the family for several years for vacations and holidays. With that kind of purchase, pools are extremely important for the lifestyle Maui has to offer,” Silva says.
One stunning example is a pool on a three-acre estate that draws inspiration from Maui itself with a “mauka to makai” theme. The infinity edge pool, lined with local lava rock, starts out toward the mauka or mountain side as a wading pool and rings the home, emptying into a larger 9 ½-deep pool on the makai or ocean side. The effect? A pool transformed into a theatrical stage.
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