Sky Pool Embassy Gardens - London (UK)

Swimming in the London sky

A futuristic water feature has appeared in the London sky: a transparent swimming pool made of acrylic, glass and steel spanning the space between two residential towers at a height of 35 metres from the ground in the luxury Embassy Gardens development, bordered by stone-effect Italian ceramic tiles
Riccardo Bianchi
Arup Associates + Eckersley O'Callaghan
architecte d'intérieur
Surfaces céramiques
Année de réalisation

In recent decades, London has become a vibrant and often astonishing laboratory of architecture, with projects that range from serious to whimsical – and in some cases downright bizarre. One project that belongs firmly in this last category is the Sky Pool, a stunning see-through swimming pool spanning the 14-metre space between two 35-metre high towers in the luxurious Embassy Gardens residential complex in southwest London. At 25 metres long, 10 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep, it contains 375 cubic metres of water and has only the sky as a roof. The project, which obviously took account of the oscillations and torsions caused by wind and micro-movements of the earth’s crust, saw the involvement of property developer EcoWorld Ballymore, professionals from Arup Associates, structural engineers from Eckersley O’Callaghan and designers from Reynolds, the aquarium materials specialist which supplied the glass panels. The world’s largest free-standing clear acrylic pool, it has a completely transparent glass floor with stainless steel tubs at either end. It was built in Colorado, then after extensive testing was transported to the installation site where it was lifted into place using a 750-tonne mobile crane. « It was a precision process, as there was a tolerance of just 30 centimetres in installing the pool into its steel frame, » explained EcoWorld Ballymore Chairman Sean Mulryan when presenting the structure. Subsequently, « filtration systems were positioned at both ends and five modes of lighting installed to add to the feeling of magic », continued Mulryan. Italian ceramic products are also present on the two large terraces at either end of the pool, which are paved with tiles from Sassuolo-based manufacturer Atlas Concorde, winner of four Red Dot Design Awards in 2022. To create a natural material look that would contrast effectively with the vibrant transparency of the water, the architects opted for stone-effect porcelain stoneware tiles in a 45×90 cm size. This product was chosen for its combination of technical characteristics suitable for use in pool areas (including anti-slip properties, hygiene, durability and chemical and moisture resistance) together with a soft colour and aesthetic qualities that would fit in perfectly with the luxury urban chic style of the setting. The installation solution adopted was also interesting, as the Fiorano Modenese company’s design report explains: « The tiles were installed on a special raised structure designed to prevent damage in the event of strong winds and to reduce the overall weight of the paving. The choice of a raised floor is a very practical solution that allows for rapid and effective intervention, especially in applications such as these where maintenance work may need to be carried out on the pool or other equipment. »

Surfaces céramiques
Atlas Concorde
45x90 cm

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