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Posted January 21, 2014. Filed in Art Deco, Classical Moderne, Moderne, Thierry Despont

Pool-Thierry Despont-Maison & Jardin-Pascal Chevallier

“Swimming in Luxury” was the title of an article written by Françoise Labro for Maison & Jardin in 1995 – a separate and complete article associated with my previous post, Passion, Discipline and Savoir-Fair, chronicling the collaboration between client and architect of a bespoke residential project in the western part of the United States. This second article published in the same March issue of Maison & Jardin details the exacting expectations of a client who, for all intents and purposes, would have been led to believe that a subterranean pool and spa beneath his mansion was impossible. But master architect Thierry Despont, you see, believes in the realization of dreams and welcomed the challenge of realizing them for his client. The luxurious results set the gold standard for a residential indoor pool and spa, let alone one for the realm of luxury hotels. Despont’s inspiration borrowed from the thermal baths of antiquity, incorporating into his plan a lap pool, a recreation area, areas for exercise, chaise longues upholstered with sturdy terry cloth to stretch out upon, and fireside seating to read a book by or relax. The affect is at once luxurious yet understated and timeless. It’s just the kind of private space you would expect a captain of industry to possess.

Pool-Spa-Thierry Despont-Maison & Jardin-Pascal Chevallier

The custom tubular steel chaise longues covered with sturdy terry cloth were designed by Despont; the cane and rosewood bench is British Colonial; a miniature racing skiff is set upon the mantel of an antique French stone fireplace.

Pool-Spa-Thierry Despont-Maison & Jardin-Pascal Chevallier

A telephone by Françoise de Watteville is integrated into a bronze bas-relief bearing the name of the Cunard Lines. The bathroom and sauna looks as though it were pulled from a private yacht from the 1930’s.

Pool-Spa-Thierry Despont-Maison & Jardin-Pascal Chevallier

Despont based the design of the swimming pool on classical models, lining the pool with  underwater frescoes that harmonize with the regular spacing of the columns in the grand tradition of aquatic decoration reminiscent of Armand-Albert Rateau. A collection of the owner’s model sailboats lines the walls, and a skiff designed by Despont hangs above the pool.

Reading List: “Swimming in Luxury” written by Françoise Labro for Maison & Jardin, March 1995. Photography by Pascal Chevallier.