WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Dook
A colourful collaboration, facilitated by interior designer Etienne Hanekom and professional painter Ilaria Louw, has transformed a Cape Town swimming pool into a tropical dreamscape.
The client loves colour. And he hates blue pools. So the alternative was to not do a blue pool,” says Etienne Haneko of the unusual brief and creative design of this exceptional Higgovale pool. He teamed up with Ilaria Louw of Paintiques, and the duo went through a series of images to decide what would best suit the pool and the home, and how it would connect to the rest of the space.“
“After some initial drawings in more pastel hues, it was decided that I should rather go bright and colourful, combining elements from the initial reference images,” says Ilaria of the concept. “With Etienne, we decided to add some patterns: tropical leaves and bold shapes.” In the end, the painting project took seven days from start to finish, as painting a pool of that size – and factoring in its curves as well as outdoor elements, leaves and bugs (attracted to the bright colours and sticking to the wet paint!) – turned out to be no easy feat for the team.
Over and above the graphic pattern, a standout feature of the pool is a colour- changing LED lighting system with a series of settings and movements, which creates a spectacular night-time show by playing on the existing pool patterns. “The lighting in the pool changes the design completely,” says Ilaria. “The particular colour of light that is on affects the way you see the pattern. The clients have ended up with a pool that can constantly change according to the mood of the night, and never be boring.”
Asked about the cohesion between the pool and the rest of the house, Etienne explains the use of a dusty, warm pink hue for the home’s exterior. “I think this element of pink works so well with the bright pool colours,” he says. “Inside, we also have many colours – muted brights, dirty undertones, and elements of graphic patterns and botanical prints – so they communicate with one another on different levels. It’s almost like bringing the inside out.”