Marianne Créations: Pools of talent
Text: Pierre Antoine Zahnd | Photos: Marianne Créations
Marianne Thiebaut’s art, to say the least, is unconventional: she designs swimming pools. In July 2018, at just 33, with a vision of the pool as a bespoke product unique to each client, she launched Marianne Créations, which is now a major player in the Côte d’Azur as well as throughout France.
Marianne Thiebaut’s practice doesn’t concern itself with ready-made, fiberglass shell pools and other common designs. Instead, she works with the more traditional concrete, which has been considered the state-of-the-art material since personal pools became available to the French public in the 1960s.
As many pools as people who order them
In spite of her young age, she has already created a few masterworks. As it happens, she learned her craft as a protegee of the late Pierre Alessandra, who was considered a pioneer in contemporary pool-making, and was a frequent prize-winner for his designs across the French Riviera.
What characterises Marianne Thiebaut’s practice is adaptability. In her world, there are as many kinds of swimming pools as there are people who order them. The pool maker’s art is to create an individual design according to the owner’s wishes, but it must also take into account the ground on which the pool is being built. In this regard, Marianne Thiebaut is able to adapt and work with potentially problematic terrains, such as clay-heavy soil and sloping ground. Her bespoke approach is a step-by-step process to ensure durability, safety, and satisfaction.
The resistence of concrete
For each new pool, she first visits the construction site to gauge its stability, whether the ground needs clearing, and whether anchoring posts are required. In cases where she deems it necessary, a concrete engineer is called upon to examine the terrain and assess what kind of iron framework is required. “The pool maker is like an orchestra conductor,” Marianne Thiebaut states. “Their artistic mission is to offer the basin shape that most closely befits your personality as well as environmental conditions.”
And although working with concrete allows her to create whatever shape she chooses with each client, as she explains it, the importance of this material also has to do with stability. Concrete is more resistant and reliable than any other material used to make swimming pools. Fiberglass shell, for instance, is brittle and given to cracking under shock. Even the slightest seismic activity can easily ruin a shell-based swimming pool. Concrete pools are a different story, however. The team at Marianne Creations can personally attest to the resistance of concrete: even though the southeast of France is a well-known seismic region, traditionally built concrete pools hold their own in the face of a (minor) earthquake.
Limitless choice of colours
Marianne Créations also demarcate themselves through their range of flooring, a key component to the aesthetic of a traditional swimming pool. A popular method is the use of granite spray, allowing for an even coating without applying either paint or joints. This process, originally imported from the United States by Pierre Alessandra himself, offers a virtually limitless choice of colours and is easily manageable from the point of view of upkeep. Like on a sailboat, it is a polyester backing that ensures the flooring is waterproof.
Another common choice combining aesthetic advantages as well as practical convenience is moiré stonewear. Typical of Bali and other island destinations, it offers a certain sophistication, but is also second to none in terms of stability.
Infinity and mirror pools
A large choice of the options and add-ons accompanies this made-to-measure process. These include heating and a poolside spa, but also a counter-current stream unit for diligent swimmers with a limited surface area. Those in search of a striking visual experience may also be charmed by their “infinity” or “mirror” pool designs.
And for those who already have a pool in their backyard, Marianne Créations also offer renovation services, applying the same skill set to the upkeep of an existing pool. Possible operations include changing the liner, laying a new slab, or even building a new pool on the inside of the basin.
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