A Virtuoso in Tile

Cailley Hammel Headshot
photo of Cipriano Landscape Design project
Photos by Cipriano Landscape Design

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Music and pools have much in common: both demand thoughtful planning, require close collaboration and result in a beautiful end product. So it only makes sense that those worlds collide in this project by Cipriano Landscape Design of Ridgewood, N.J., an all-tile pool in the shape of a 1700’s era Stradivarius violin.

Measuring 90 feet long and 1,350 square feet, the pool features a 12-person perimeter overflow spa finished in black tile — which serves as the “chinrest” of the violin — a lap pool that extends through the neck and a “bow” represented by two koi ponds that intersect at the neck. The client is, naturally, a gifted violinist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and has three musically talented children.

Much like planning a symphony, the project required incredibly careful planning and employed some challenging techniques. For example, the tile: While a gradient tile effect is usually done in one direction, this pool features a gradient in four directions, which was accomplished in a 15-sheet transition from the center line. In total, the project uses nearly 500,000 pieces of tile from Oceanside Glasstile.

“The AutoCad layout was imperative in order to make that happen,” says Chris Cipriano, president of Cipriano Landscape Design. “We had one person who was in charge of nothing but picking out colors, the individual tiles, and re-blending the right colors throughout the pool.”

The tile process was a challenge, but fusing the tile with the fiber-optic lighting found in the violin strings was even trickier. After taking some Fiberstar lights and tile swatches in the office bathroom for some trials, Cipriano and his team settled on a plan: The company would plait 5,760 fiber optic strands through the tile joints in the pool floor to achieve its unique harmonious blend of color and light.

The homeowners aren’t the only ones who were impressed; Cipriano Landscape Design was recognized by NESPA in the annual Outstanding Achievement Awards, where the violin project won Gold in the Specialty Pools — All Tiled Pool and Exceptional Recognition in Design & Building — Concrete categories. But that’s not all — the project also won the People’s Choice Award and the Best of Competition Award.

“It’s great to be recognized by your peers,” Cipriano says. “Those are the people who know what it takes to produce something like that. A homeowner might never see an imperfection, but your peers always will. So getting that award is just a tribute to the team and the effort the men put in.”

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