Basalt Architects’ design in Hofsós, Iceland exemplifies the current vogue for outdoor pools that strive to blend with their natural surroundings — in this case the Atlantic Ocean and nearby island of Drangey; photo: Gudmundur Benediktsson

Making a Splash

Move over, infinity pool. There's a new watery kid on the bathing block. A more natural take on outdoor swimming is developing as an international trend, one which allows bathing in even the most urban of contexts. What's more, some of these new public pools are low on chemical agents, or even chemical-free, using plant life to clean them. Last one in's a rotten egg!

Contents in brief:

  • A Bigger Splash: the public outdoor pools currently making waves
  • Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends'
  • Material Tendencies Part 2: Philippe Starck
  • Inspiring Search Results No. 43: Outdoor kitchens
  • Inspiring Spaces No. 35: Swimming pools / outdoor pools
  • Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Be inspired!

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A Bigger Splash: the public outdoor pools currently making waves

Text: Dominic Lutyens

Outdoor swimming is experiencing a watery renaissance, with a raft of noteworthy projects allowing bathers to do it the natural way, even in the most urban of contexts. Come on in. The water’s great.

King’s Cross Pond Club is in fact an art installation called Of Soil and Water, in place for up to two years in the Lewis Cubitt Park and Square area in King’s Cross

David Hockney’s iconic 1967 painting A Bigger Splash, with its straight-lined, turquoise swimming pool, once represented the acme of Californian glamour and high modernism: flanking the pool is a sharp-edged house, while nature (two token palm trees) is sidelined. Today’s equivalent might be the high-end hotel’s mirror-smooth infinity pool.

Flanking a high wall, Basalt Architects’ pool in Iceland is sheltered from strong northerly winds. The adjacent, one-storey building was designed to harmonise with the modest scale of the area’s traditional houses; photo: Rafn Sigurbjornsson

But the tide is turning against artificial-looking pools filled with synthetically sterilised water in favour of natural pools and ponds, a vogue kickstarted in the 1980s by forward-thinking, eco-friendly designers. ‘Chemical-free’, ‘non-mechanical’, ‘unpolished’ — these are the buzzwords on architects’ lips today. Precedents for the trend include Australia’s ocean pools (enclosed areas on rocks with seawater naturally invading their borders) and zero-entry pools simulating beaches.

northmodern August 13–15 presenting ROOM

A sharply curated furniture segment

northmodern is the new platform for furniture, art, design and interior. Building on the strong design heritage and culture in Copenhagen and with a unique position in the centre of Scandinavia, northmodern takes place in Bella Center Copenhagen twice a year and is the foundation for a new and innovative design destination in Europe.

The second edition of northmodern will run August 13-15, accommodating a rising demand from the furniture industry with the new segment ROOM. A sharply curated area comprising furniture, office, kitchen, lighting and audio of national and international calibre. Some of the brands to be found in ROOM are: One Collection, Please Wait to be Seated, Tom Dixon, PP Møbler, Vitra, Paustian, Menu, Woud, fermLIVING, BO FORM. Check our the entire brand list here:

An amazing conference programme curated in collaboration with design denmark is now official. Check out the fantastic line-up, featuring keynote and exhibitor Tom Dixon, Design Critic Alice Rawsthorn and many more!


Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends’

Stretching the Limits: MDT-tex and textile architecture

Text: Simon Keane-Cowell

MDT-tex, the go-to textile-architecture manufacturer and consultancy, is invited time and time again to partner with some of the world's leading architects. It's no wonder given the company's innovative outdoor structures and intelligent membranes.

It’s curtains for Expo 2015: KriskaDECOR’s architectural, metal-chain facades

Text: Giovanna Dunmall

The go-to Spanish manufacturer of high-end, space-shaping mesh curtains has turned the Ecuadorean Pavilion at Milan’s Expo 2015 into a must-visit destination.

The Right Stuff: Sylvain Willenz

Text: Simon Keane-Cowell

His raft of enviable collaborations with the likes of Cappellini and Established & Sons, and, more recently, Retegui, Menu and Objekten, are testimony to the fact that Brussels-based designer Sylvain Willenz creates Things That People Actually Want.

The End of the Cubicle: forward-thinking office furniture from Nurus

Text: Johannes Hünig

When design-led office-furniture manufacturer Nurus partnered up with global professional-services firm Deloitte to reimagine their Istanbul HQ, the result was an environment as fit for forward-facing work culture as it is creatively inspiring.

From Japan with Love: Kitani’s Danish design classics

Text: Simon Keane-Cowell

For over 20 years now, craftsmanship-led Japanese furniture manufacturer Kitani has been bringing a considered edit of mid-century Danish classics back to life, to the delight of design-lovers worldwide. 

Dwell on Design New York

October 2-4, 2015 / Skylight Clarkson Sq / New York

At Dwell on Design New York, you’re sure to discover your design philosophy. Be a part of the conversation and engage with content and brands. 3 days / 2 stages / 5,000 design-savvy attendees


Material Tendencies Part 2: Philippe Starck

Rather than trying to create beautiful objects, the French designer and architect considers it his duty to invent things that make life better for the largest number of people possible. He believes that the existence of an object is only justified when it serves others – or in the best case – when it ends up leaving behind something for others to develop further.

Architonic asked Philippe Starck what material he would choose if he had to decide to work with just one for the next three years.

Philippe Starck - photo © Architonic

Starck: ‘The brain, intelligence and creativity. Because these are the real materials – these are the original materials. Before everything, you need a brain. When you know why you do it, when you have an ethical vision, when you try to give a better life to your friends and family, then any type of material is good. But I would always say plastic, because I’m a communist and I always want to make things more and more affordable. I want to reach the maximum I can, for everybody. Only mass-produced plastic objects can do this.’

Inspiring Search Results No. 43

Garden furnishings > Cooking/Barbecue > Outdoor kitchens

Inspiring Spaces No. 35

Swimming pools / outdoor pools

Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Aamer Architects

Tan’s Garden Villa
Singapore | Completed 2012
Photographer: Sanjay Kewlani

Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura

Family house
Mont-ras, Girona | Spain

Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

House on the cliff
Calpe, Alicante | Spain
Photographer: Diego Opazo