California is known for its beautiful weather, famous inhabitants and pacific shorelines — the latter being the design inspiration behind the pool pictured here. The coral reef, which includes animals such as jellyfish, turtles and clownfish, took hours upon hours for the Craig Bragdy Design team to finish due to it being done completely by hand.
Craig Bragdy is a Welsh, family owned company that has been in operation since the 1950s; however, in 2019, it merged with the Wafi Group and has since moved its headquarters from the United Kingdom to the heart of Dubai. Outside of swimming pools, Craig Bragdy also makes wall murals, signature floorings and various other arts and crafts all by hand.
After collaborating with the client about the design of this project, the Craig Bragdy team used C.G.I. and computer imagery to translate the client's words and ideas into illustrations. Once approved, a large, single sheet of clay was laid out onto the factory floor. A group of dedicated and committed artists then cut into the clay, forming and shaping the coral reef. The group describes the cutting process as drawing, but instead of using a crayon, they get to use a knife.
As the design came into fruition, the clay sheet began to divide seamlessly into tiles. The tiles required several firings before it was ready for glazing — a process that entails brushing, layering and spraying to create different effects and smooth, or nuanced, transitions between the oceanic colors.
As the team worked to complete the cutting and glazing processes by hand, they constantly referenced the original, approved design to make sure they were staying within the client's requests. There were, and always will be, small differences between the design and finished product, but they are oftentimes unrecognizable and just as breathtaking, if not more so, than the original plan.
The tiles were then transferred to the client's backyard, where the swimming pool was completed and filled with water. The coral reef design is said to truly shine when the coastal breeze settles, and the sun sinks over the pacific horizon.
This article first appeared in the July 2023 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.