Design 5 designer pools and where to find them

5 designer pools and where to find them

Giorgia Massari

If you think about summer, the connection with relaxing by the pool is almost automatic. However, not everyone knows that the swimming pool is one of the favorite medium of architects, designers, but also artists, who exploit its infinite structural possibilities to express creativity and in some cases even their more eccentric side. Today we have selected five sensational ones, from architectural masterpieces to strokes of genius by great artists.

Scroll down to find out what they are and where they are!

#1 Piscina das Marés by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza

Built between 1959 and 1973, the Piscina das Marés is an astonishing architectural project by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza who, among other things, won the Gold Medal for Architecture in 1988. The Tide Pools project is a clear example of Siza’s genius and fully reflects his desire to bring together the natural and the artificial through architecture. For this project, the architect identified an uncomfortable area, that of the rocky tongue between the ocean and the ancient settlement of Leça (on the coast of Portugal), with the intention of creating a peaceful oasis where one could enjoy the sea in total safety. The pools are in fact directly connected to the ocean and get their water from there.

#2 The red swimming pool by Ricardo Bofill

This curious red pool is located in the Family House that the famous architect Ricardo Bofill built in 1978 for his parents. The villa is located in the Empordà region of Catalonia, in the village of Montràs, and represents the synthesis of Bofill’s architectural vision. The core of the house is the courtyard, which is tinged with red – a colour dear to the architect – thanks to the swimming pool in the centre.

#3 The Baker Pool by James Turrell

The American artist James Turrell, famous for his work on the perception of light and space, commissioned the Baker family to create a light installation in the patrons’ private swimming pool on their Greenwich estate. Turrell places LED lights in the pool that change colour automatically or manually, following the sensitivity of its users. The lighting effect designed by the artist is able to mask the presence of water; during the opening in fact, a visitor accidentally fell into the pool, mistaking it for the floor.

#4 The colorful pool by Joana Vasconcelos 

Just a few kilometres from Edinburgh is the Jupiter Artland art foundation, famous for its garden full of sculptures (including those by Anish Kapoor and Marc Quinn) and its sensational swimming pool. It is the installation Gateway, composed of more than ten thousand coloured tiles and created by artist Joana Vasconcelos in 2019. The mosaic composes a design made of intricate lines, energy flows that the artist conceives as a way to connect the earth to sacred sites scattered around the world.

#5 Alex Proba’s pool murals

The colourful universe of New York-based German artist Alex Proba, arrives on swimming pool floors and beyond. There are three swimming pools ‘dressed’ by Proba. Two are located in Palm Springs, the more rigid and angular one is at Marrow House while the other, with its soft shapes, is at Hill House (a villa rentable on airbnb). The third is public and surrounded by Manhattan skyscrapers. Proba painted, commissioned by K&CO and Pliskin Architecture, the pool deck on Roosevelt Island with a “feast of form”, as the artist herself called it.

Written by Giorgia Massari
Listen on