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The Waters Edge

Light Dances and Glassy Inspirations – These days we design and build swimming pools for far more than just swimming.  Our creations are no longer merely functional; they’re visual and aural masterpieces with a functional element.  These days, a pool can involve an optical illusion, such as water vanishing into the horizon; or it could incorporate a stunning display of waterfalls emitting enough sound to drown out the diurnal cacophony of tree frogs and the incessant drone of traffic; or it could be a whole host of things in between.

The current trend is to play with and on the reflective qualities of the water.  Because light never travels through water the same way twice, and because there is a wide variety of materials to choose from, we can combine subtle hues and textures to achieve a fantastical array of water shapes and ‘scapes.  Often, a small alteration in design will result in a dramatically different effect.

Once in a while, though, a product hits the market that will completely change your pool perspective and such is its appeal, you find yourself exploring almost endless possibilities.  It is great to see the renewed interest in glass, or to be more specific, glass tile, as a pool surface finishing material.

Glass tiles are by no means a new concept, and time and again glass has proved highly durable and worth its price.  Glass is impervious to chemicals – pool chemicals – and as it is smooth, algae just can’t hold on.  Today’s grouts and setting materials make for even greater longevity; with proper pool maintenance and water balancing, glass will last a lifetime.

Glass pool tiles are widely available, with beautiful shapes and colours being produced from recycled or fresh silica in companies as far afield as Japan and Brazil.  Italy and Mexico, the master mosaic makers, are significant producers.  Novel colours and textures that cannot be replicated using any other material have been fabricated through traditional and new production methods, which in turn can be incorporated in to your pool design with spectacular results. The depth of the colours and their iridescence is second to none.

Some of the biggest names in the tile industry have jumped on the bandwagon supplying the growing trend, and production on a larger scale is bringing this currently rather expensive material to a larger client base. We’re beginning to see glass tile adorning many surfaces, not just on the bathroom walls and the bottom of swimming pools, throughout resorts and new homes in the BVI.  Those seeking the most sensational effects are going as far as employing artists to turn their ideas into reality, and the picture here demonstrates the versatility and beauty of glass tile.

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