When a customer in Bedford, New York, USA, approached Cipriano Landscape Design with the idea of crafting a pool to reflect his love of violins – specifically the Stradivarius Violin, he was excited to discover that his dream could become a reality. With the knowledge that an exact replica with all of its detail and intricacies could and would become a reality, the client began discussions with the designers to formalize a plan that would become one of the most complex pool designs and installations within the whole design and build industry that would include not just the pool but the surrounding hardscapes and landscapes as well. The complete team that was responsible for such a unique and stunning installation are as follows: Landscape and Swimming pool design was a collaborative effort of Chris Cipriano, Keith Steinhoff, Dan Shea and William Moore, licensed NJ Landscpae architect of Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools and Landscaping. The construction of this amazing Swimming Pool and surrounding Landscape was done by Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools and Landscaping.
The client is an amateur violin player and collector so his dream of having a Stradivarius Pool within his landscape was from the heart and the many collaborators on the project where excited to help him make his dream a reality. Within the design itself the entire violin attributes were accounted for including purlflings, f-holes, a bridge, strings, a tailpiece and a chinrest. Additional elements of custom tile work and LED lighting layered in an intricate artistry that give the pool a charismatic aesthetic that can be appreciated both up close and from a distance.
Other features that up the enjoyment factor are the 1,000,000 BTU heater (making year round use of the pool and spa enjoyable), Wireless technology (so the homeowner can adjust any pool settings and landscape utilities directly from an iPhone) and an underwater audio system that makes listening to music possible while swimming laps or playing underwater
A fiber optic rope lighting detail illuminates the entire periphery of the pool. Made up of 350′ of rope lighting, Cipriano masons countersunk the fiber optic rope beneath the pool’s coping to obscure it from the swimmers view while allowing the effects of the lights to glow freely into the watery violin.
The chin rest of the violin was ingeniously crafted into a 12-person perimeter overflow spa with independent LED lighting finished entirely in jet-black glass tiles. With the overflow edges, the water emanating from the spa creates a continuous and endless spill over that flows into the pool on one side and into a trough beneath the coping of the patio on the other. The trough is connected directly to the pool, and the water is re-circulated from the pool into the spa without any water loss. The effect is a peaceful and serine composition of imagery that is both functional and inspirational.
The 4 violin strings running down the centre of the pool are composed of jet black translucent glass tiles and are illuminated with 5760 strands of fiber optic lighting for night illumination. The strings create lap lanes for swimmers while an installed Riverflow jet system is capable of creating a 2000-gallon a minute current strong enough to swim – or kayak – against.
Cipriano Landscape Design was also able to incorporate the homowner’s love of koi into the Stradivarius Violin Pool by turning the bow of the violin into 2 fish filled koi ponds that intersect the neck of the violin via two transparent acrylic panels, allowing the fish to be visible to the swimmers. The koi ponds are outfitted with 250 fiber optic starlights for a stunning light show in the late evening.
The two ponds were crafted with several platforms to showcase a variety of water irises, lily pads and other aquatic plants to create a continuum of the water visual to the surrounding landscapes. The acrylic panels that separate the two sides of the bow (and the fish) from the violin where difficult to install and required the coordination of a variety of distinctly skilled craftsmen with a synchronized effort which required numerous individuals and machines to work in nearly perfect harmony.
The patio is comprised of dolomitic limestone that connects the house with the pool for a continuous entertaining area for family and guests. The pools surrounding the pool where laid in a square pattern and surrounded by an inlay border in an additional “musical motif” of the G clef symbol. All of the dolomitic limestone is outfitted with a radiant heating system paired with the homes boiler. The radiant heating system works via the installation of underground pipes between the stone slabs of the patio. This warming effect of the patio keeps the patio stones warmed during the winter months, preventing any ice or snow from accumulating, thereby giving the homeowner the option to use the pool and surrounding outdoor spaces throughout the year.
Complimenting the musical pool is the lush landscaping implemented by Cipriano’s Landscape Architecture crew. Consisting of a boxwood hedge planted in a stem like structure to act as a backdrop for the flowering and colourful plants that surround it, the effect a rhythmic one that abstractly represents the various flows of musical movement. A 30′, fully mature Bloodgood Japanese Maple stands tall amongst the plantings, accenting the landscaping with its reddish purple leaves. To enjoy the gardens to the fullest, strolling paths have been incorporated into the overall design.
The tiles within the pool shimmer against the natural shades of the dolomitic limestone decking. Made up of nearly 500,000 translucent glass tiles that are intertwined with 5760 strands of fiber optic that illuminate the lap lanes at night. This took a coordinated design scheme that began long before the tiles where laid. Prior to the gunite and steel installations of the pool shell, a well thought out detail was followed to meet the design requirements while maintaining the integrity of the structure. With proper preparation fine tuned over years of design experience, the complexity of the plan was realized into a stunning display of tiles and light.
Typically gradient tile patterns transition in one direction, on occasion two if they are transitioning in a 4-way gradient pattern. To accomplish this the Cipriano Landscape Architecture Office collaborated with the tile manufacturer to assign a numerical value to each sheet of tile from 1 through 15 based on each sheets gradient transition. Using an AutoCad design program, the team then planned out the location of every single sheet to ensure the gradient pattern would transition perfectly to the numerous curves and corners of the organically shaped violin pool. Following the autocad program, the Cipriano tile setters where then able to install the tiles on location for a finished result that does not betray the edges of each sheet.
Along with the intricate display of fiber optic lights used in the Stradivarius Violin Pool, the landscape that surrounds it is also a stunning display of LED lighting systems. The LED landscape lighting was first placed in strategic places to insure the safety of the property, and then a second layer was added to enhance certain features and bring the property to life at night.
The lighting system is a multi-layered arrangement installed throughout the landscape. Near the pool, fiber optic lighting was countersunk beneath the wall caps, which provide light without the infrastructure being visible. Along the patio and pathways, open-ended path lights offer safety illumination while also creating evening ambiance. Along the outer edges of the property up lighting provides highlights of unique specimen pieces planted throughout the landscape. Each one of these lighting systems can be adjusted by the homeowner to fit a variety of moods or feelings through a program within his iPhone.
The jet-black tiles of the spa pool within the chinstrap of the Stradivarius are highlighted with a white grout to emphasize the mosaic pattern. Each layer of the spa changes the directions of the mosaics allowing for an easy above water view of the various levels.
In complete contrast to the jet-black tiles are the iridescent glass tiles and their gradient pattern. The immense difficulty of the installation showcases the skill and craftsmanship of the tile layers and the final result is truly spectacular.
The tile steps leading down into the pool are installed in a radiating pattern of multi-coloured mosaics that appear almost gem like. Aside from the multiple colours within the tiles, two shape patterns are also incorporated. The risers are comprised of mini subway tiles, as are the first several rows of the treads before transitioning to the true square mosaics. The number of rows of mini subways differs tread to tread.
The use of different shaped mosaics continues through the layout of the pool edge. Here a larger size of mini subway runs the first two rows of tiles just below the patio stones before transitioning into the smaller subways used on the step risers.
The patio sections next to the residence feature a fully furnished outdoor kitchen and bar that is even outfitted with a TV. The kitchen has all the amenities of an indoor kitchen, allowing the homeowner to completely prepare food for dining outdoors and eat outdoors without having to run back and forth to the indoor kitchen. Composed of steel and stone, the outdoor kitchen is not only convenient but aesthetically complimentary to the stone patio. The large outdoor TV is centred on a hydraulic lift that can be lowered into the ground when not used for both weather protection and simply to hide it from view.
From the designer:
“What is most important to us is that we satisfy the wishes of our clients, and provide them with a product that they can enjoy for years, and generations to come.”
“This particular homeowner approached us with a unique request, which demanded that we wade into previously uncharted territory. Yet above it all, we surpassed all of the challenges that arose during the design and building stages of the violin pool, because we were committed to turning that homeowners dream into a reality.”