Approximately 75 feet of mosaic tile was used around the edges of the pool. A total of 150 decorative fish, crabs, shells, octopi and a variety of other sea life contributed to the theme of the design.


For the new health spa, Aquaria, located on the peninsula of Sirmione, ceramic tile from Floor Gres Ceramiche was selected for the renovation and expansion project.
The level of taste and sophistication homeowners are expressing in residential design has certainly escalated over the years. Contributing to this growing trend are the endless options available in tile collections today. The countless colors, textures, sizes and decorative trim pieces on the market offer inspiration and maximize creativity. And while interior design is often a priority, homeowners are also investing time and money in the exterior of their residences. Among points of interest outside are pools and spas. And whether a sleek and classy look or fun and festive environment is desired, the use of tile often helps to achieve the design objective.

An example of this growing trend can be found in the outdoor pool of a private residence in Daytona, FL, where colorful customized ceramic tiles were employed to create a beautiful and cheery outdoor setting. "It's a copy of my personal swimming pool that I built about four years ago," said Michelle Griffoul of Michelle Griffoul Studios, Inc. in Buellton, CA. "The client saw it, and she loved it. There was an existing pool that looked like it was the black hole - it was filled with mud. They asked me to adapt what they had."



The design involved renovating an existing space, which had been neglected and filled with mud.
Griffoul, a consummate clay artist who studied for a year at the International School of Ceramics in Florence, Italy, operates her own ceramic tile design and production studio. Her customized ceramic and porcelain tiles can be found in showrooms nationwide. It was at Gracious Living Design Center in Clermont, FL, where the homeowner first came across Griffoul's tiles.

"Dosha Porta was the designer, and she brought the client to a showroom that sells my products," said Griffoul. "The showroom played a big part in this. They made the connection."

The homeowner had a lot of input on the colors, according to Mike French of Gracious Living Design Center. "She was one of those clients that you get a hold of and go ‘Wow,'" he said. "She wanted something fun, different and not boring. She came in and saw the bright colors and gravitated right towards them."

French explained that he arranged a meeting between Griffoul and the client to go over the color palette. "I worked on that pool close to a year," said French. "A lot had to do with getting a layout of the colors, but the spa was something that was added. It was drawn by the pool company." French drew the template for the whirlpool.

"The client was wonderful," said Griffoul. "A project like this takes a team, and this team has to work very well together," she said. "There needs to be a tight relationship with all those involved, including the salespeople, the client with a sense of trust and a budget to fund the design, the artist/manufacturer with the vision, the contractor and tile installer."



While light ivory colored tiles were primarily used throughout the spa design, Marine — a light green hue — was employed for features such as steps, terraces and slopes. The more vibrant color was used in these applications as a safety measure, enabling patrons to spot these elements easily.
The entire pool, pool deck, pool bath and stairs were all part of the remodel, while the spa and waterfall into the pool were new construction completed at the same time. The large quarter round was specially designed for the pool coping and glazed in four colors to keep the theme of movement continuous throughout the pool. Additionally, 150 decorative fish, crabs, shells, octopi and a variety of other sea life contributed to the tropical motif. The inside of the pool also featured a 6-foot mermaid.

In total, approximately 75 feet of mosaic tile was used around the edges of the pool. To accentuate the bright decorative features, a field was created with 2-by-2-inch glass tile, which was manufactured by M2 of Washington state and supplied by Gracious Living Design Center. "I recommended putting the glass tile in," said French. "We wanted to create a canvas to lay all that color on so it pops."

Griffoul explained that all of the tiles, which are high-fired porcelain and ceramic that can be used in freezing areas and for commercial floors, are manufactured at her studio. "I love ceramic," she said. "I love clay. I look at a pool as functional art. When the client says that they want something fun and bright, that's like candy to me. It was just so fun and creative because it is made like a big sculpture garden. We did the furniture, the shower and the bathroom. She was the ultimate customer. She was smiling the whole time."



In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the ceramic tile provided durability and slip resistance for the indoor and outdoor public spaces at the health spa.
According to Griffoul, coral-colored 6-by-6-inch tiles were custom developed just for this project. "They are bright, but also different," said the artist. "The house is yellow, and the pool is turquoise, so we wanted something different."

The hard work and dedication given by all those involved with the project was evident in the creative design that was achieved for the home's pool area. Not only was the client extremely pleased with the end result, but the project also was the Grand Prize winner of the 2004 Spectrum Award for creativity and achievement in the use of tile in residential and commercial design.

Commercial applications
Homeowners are not the only ones utilizing the latest materials on the market to create upscale looks for their pools and spas. In the hospitality sector, spas and health clubs are also utilizing decorative ceramic and porcelain tile as well as glass and metallic pieces to create contemporary and sophisticated designs.

For the new health spa, Aquaria, located on the peninsula of Sirmione, ceramic tile from Floor Gres Ceramiche was selected for the renovation and expansion project. The material was chosen not only for its aesthetics, but also for its durability and slip resistance, which is extremely important in a wet and slippery area such as a swimming pool.

The site where the health spa sits encompasses a little more than 100,000 square feet, of which approximately 7,500 square feet is used for indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The color palette of the tile was kept light, to reflect a natural environment. Additionally, the neutral tones of the tiles bring a soothing feel to the spa, providing a relaxing atmosphere where patrons can unwind.

While light ivory colored tiles were primarily used throughout the spa design, Marine - a light green hue - was employed for features such as steps, terraces and slopes. The more vibrant color was used in these applications as a safety measure, enabling patrons to spot these elements easily.

The overall design of the spa is inviting and relaxing. While the soft shades of ceramic tile enhanced the comfortable feel, their durability and slip resistance were crucial in ensuring safety in the public spaces of the health resort.