Listening to and interpreting a client’s inspiration for a design often leads Craig Bragdy in engaging new artistic directions – just as with this project, when they were asked to produce the subtle magic of a trompe l’oeil.
The residence was in an exclusive golfing neighbourhood in south Florida, where houses were being built from plan, giving owners the chance to contribute to architecture and design. Complementing an outdoor pool would be a long and narrow indoor swimming pool, 26’ x 8’ ft, with steps for entry.
A complementary style
A monochromatic theme throughout the house determined the colours of the pool’s design: blue and white. Even so, what would be the right character and tone was still an open question for what was very much an exercise pool (with water pumps making it feel more like swimming in the Intracoastal waters than in a regular lap pool).
A challenging design
Discussing ideas, a spark of inspiration came from the client. She simply said, “Let’s throw a chiffon into that pool – down its steps and along its length.” She disappeared and returned with a beautifully delicate striped robe to show what she had in mind. That was that – and Craig Bragdy happily accepted a challenging commission to recreate the look and feel of a lightweight cloth in ceramics.
With such a clear concept, the important first step of producing painted images (to be approved for manufacture) was relatively straightforward. Then, using very precise airbrushing techniques, the image was glazed on to the handmade tiles.
What was really the key demand of the commission was then to maunfacture and install the ceramics without breaking the illusion of the image: a seamless, undulating light fabric running from the deck, down the steps, and on to the floor of the pool.
The completed project – the first of several trompe l’oeil commissions – is a decorative joy, anchored firmly to the steps and the base of the pool … and actually appearing to be floating at the surface of the water.