Design Notes Archive

Swimming Pool Tiles

Swimming Pool Tiles

It might not be the warmest summer on record, nor one conducive to visiting exotic locales, but that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming of sun-drenched swimming pools this month. We’ll be holidaying vicariously at these fanciful destinations and perhaps planning 2022 pool transformations while we’re at it.

First on the list is Nathaniel Rothschild’s legendary bolthole in Rio de Janiero, left. In specifying the pool’s op art tile pattern, designer Tino Zervudachi drew on the iconic Copacabana promenades of Brazilian landscape designer, Roberto Burle Marx. It’s a stunning example of how graphic inlaid tiles can utterly transform the look of a swimming pool—you might even say commanding all the attention from the house. We can’t help but also see a potential nod to the swirling brushstrokes that David Hockney famously painted on the bottom of swimming pools at his Hollywood Hills home and LA’s Roosevelt Hotel in the 1980s.

For a subtler approach that’s still incredibly dreamy, look no further than the Majorca villa of Alexandre de Betak, centre. An artistic director and set designer, de Betak produces runway shows for the world’s top fashion brands. As such, he’s accustomed to taking his surroundings into account, making sure all elements flow together with precision. That was certainly the case here, where the natural stone hardscaping blends with the Tramuntana mountainside and the pool’s green glass mosaic tiles mimic the colour of the property’s olive trees. Whether you have the benefit of the Mediterranean sun or not, the beauty of glass mosaics is how they glisten in the light, lending a twinkling quality to the water throughout the day.

Further afield in Mexico’s Jalisco region, we’re smitten with the painted tile surrounding the pool at Casa Cuixmala, right—a boutique hotel that was once the holiday home of the late British financier, Sir James Goldsmith, designed by Robert Couturier. Referred to as waterline tiles, these decorative pieces form a border spanning 15cm from the coping down into the water. Like our handpainted Series S tiles, the options for painted decorative motifs are endless. This one draws on the waves of the ocean beyond and compliments an inlaid blue and white checker pattern under the water’s surface. We’re certainly enticed to dive in!

Photos © Michael Calderwood; Matthieu Salvaing; Aerin Lauder