Caribbean Journal – Designing the largest swimming pools in the Caribbean
This is one of the centerpieces of any Caribbean resort: the swimming pool.
It is often the town square, the meeting point, the place to be in each seaside resort in the region.
And that means it’s an essential part of the design process of any Caribbean property.
And arguably the most fashionable pool designer in the area is Aquatics International Group, which has been behind some of the area’s newest pool landscapes, including the Ritz-Carlton’s stunning new pool system. , St Thomas.
To find out more, Caribbean Journal Invest met with Chris Fogleman, President of Aquatics International Group.
You have been doing this for a long time. Tell us a bit about your experience and the history of Aquatics International Group.
I started cleaning swimming pools as a summer job in high school and it was never a job for me, but something that I really enjoyed. While studying at university, I worked as a worker for a construction company and learned a lot about the construction process. After college, I started a pool service company, and it grew rapidly over the next 5 years. I decided to go back to college and study aquatic architecture and that’s where I met my current partner. He was already very good at aquatic architecture as he had a natural talent for design and already had a background in landscape design. We started working together about 10 years ago when I decided to hire him as a designer and consultant and our two businesses have continued to grow and prosper. About five years ago, I decided to sell my pool service company and focus primarily on building high end residential swimming pools all over the United States. We have started winning many swimming pool design / build awards, both national and international. It was at this point that we agreed to form Aquatics International Group and tackle the most difficult international projects with our “A” team that we have selected over the past 10 years.
You have completed several projects in the Caribbean. What’s your most recent?
Most recently, we completed the Ritz-Carlton Resort Pool, Concrete Landscapes, Landscapes, Lighting and Irrigation in St Thomas, USVI.
As a business, do you focus on the Caribbean? Why the Caribbean?
Yes. We mainly focus on the Caribbean. We chose the Caribbean because that’s where it seems to be the most challenging and rewarding to work. Most of the stations are built there due to the wonderful climate that prevails all year round and our projects are used to the maximum all year round because of this. Homeowner groups spend a lot on pools and amenities as this is what drives people to stay in their hotels. We notice a higher occupancy rate at Caribbean hotels when there is a nice pool to enjoy. Our projects also photograph well when there is a beautiful Caribbean backdrop to showcase our designs.
Do you have a few favorite projects you’ve worked on in the Caribbean?
Currently our favorite project is the Ritz Carlton in St Thomas, USVI because it currently has the most beautiful slide and the most beautiful swimming pool in the Caribbean. There are so many amazing features in this project that you absolutely must see.
You started out in the design and construction of residential swimming pools and moved to commercial swimming pools and spas. How did it happen?
After 16 years of building residential swimming pools, we wanted something more stimulating. Commercial swimming pools had a much larger budget than residential swimming pools and allowed us to maximize the creativity of our designs and provided better reward with more users. My partner was also already designing business pools for management companies and knew what was desirable for the client while keeping a budget. It made the transition easier.
Do you do new constructions as well as renovations?
We offer both new construction and renovations. Many swimming pools in the Caribbean are in desperate need of renovations because they violate state codes and are battered by hurricanes. We can simply give projects a “facelift” with more modern materials or completely rethink and start fresh with a clean slate.
At what point in the design process should the pool contractor be consulted?
We strongly recommend that you consult with us early in planning as things are often overlooked such as equipment placement, water conservation, energy use, and what landscaping works. good for complementing the look of the project as well as providing shade for users and keeping the pool clean for ongoing maintenance. There are many instances where state architects overlook elements of the pool design that later result in the price of the project, such as placing the equipment very far away and having to use very large hoses and pumps to reach the pool. good pool rotation rate to allow guests to swim safely. .
Do you specialize in certain islands or regions?
Our company has a long arm in the Caribbean for design / build. We also serve islands off the coasts of Spain, Turkey and Greece for advice and project management.
What about contractors, suppliers and logistics. How does it work on a remote island?
We have a logistics team that we have been working with for years now and can handle shipments globally. We like to ship all of our raw materials and store them on site so that we don’t hunt for parts that can delay a project. We use both sea and air when necessary, to meet our deadlines. We like to pre-order and have material available and if space is not available onsite, we locate offsite storage for project materials.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
We were negotiating on several commercial projects in the Caribbean before Covid-19 and things are just getting back to the design phase. We have signed NDAs and currently cannot talk about things to come, but it looks like business development is strengthening again in the Caribbean for 2021.
What are your prospects for the future?
We are forecasting a profitable year and are helping to continue to grow and showcase the Caribbean Islands as tourism is expected to continue to increase throughout this year. We are currently seeing record figures in the tourism sector.
For more information, contact [email protected]
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