‘Splash’ Is Summer’s Perfect Opening Act

Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter have a new book out from Rizzoli called “Splash: The Art of the Swimming Pool” – one that celebrates the style, design and beauty that these watery oases bring to life. The book take readers on a tour of backyards and patios of celebrities and luminaries like Diane Keaton, Cher, Bunny Williams, Carolyne Roehm, and Frank Lloyd Wright in Southern California, Mexico, Palm Springs, and Connecticut. A+A interviewed them via email last week:

Why swimming pools?
It was a perfect summer book idea. We both love to swim, and this was a project close to our hearts.

What’s the book’s intent?
We wanted to show the infinite variety of possibilities when it comes to designing a swimming pool.

What’s the history of swimming pools?
The documented origin of swimming pools goes back over 5,000 years. However the idea that everyone could have one in their back yard really dates from the middle of the 20th-century.

Your inspiration for the book?
Everyone seems to remember the Kelly Klein book “Pools,” which came out in 1992, which unlike our book, was a compilation of many photographers’ work, incidentally including some of Tim’s earlier photos. This was one of the first books which treated the pool as an art object and it was very inspirational.

How does the landscape drive their design?
A great pool has to sit well in the landscape, and have a good relationship with the house it belongs to. The surrounding garden has to be just as inviting as the pool.

You’re including celebrity pools, correct? Whose?
Celebrity pools weren’t the focus of the book. We were really looking for great pools and gardens. Often celebrities bring in great designers, so when that happened we were keen to include them, for example actors like Diane Keaton, and Ellen Pompeo, as well as the singer Cher. We also included pools by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Luis Barragan.

The challenges of pulling this book together?
Living in Southern California meant it was pretty easy to find great pools. However it was difficult to narrow them down as we had too many choices.

And what about materiality? What are the variables?
I added a chapter at the end of the book called “Pool Elements,” which gave a brief overview of the different materials and options for swimming pools. However I would need a whole new book to do the subject justice!

For more, go here.

[slideshow id=2049]