It’s getting hot out there . . . too hot. The sun is like a white coal melting in the sky. Languorous clouds float by, on winds of careful amusement. But not enough cloud to cool me off. No – I’ve shrunken up like a raisin, or a gold prune. What will I do? Keep walking, I guess. Down this long and dusty road, into the valley of black molten smoke. I’m looking for a place to drink – yet all I see is mirage after mirage. I’m looking for a place to sink – to cool my hide and wash away the heat. Where will I go?

There is a certain side we seek. Some call it the best side. I call it Poolside. It is here, in this serene space between land and water, that we discover a unique blend of opulence, relaxation, and obsessive allure.

The story starts way back when . . . and still further back than that. For the sake of modesty, we’ll dip our toes in just a few millenia past, at the deep end of the Mediterranean, where lies the fabled peninsula of the Balkans . . . Greece. 

In ancient Greece, pools were not merely functional but deeply symbolic, reflecting the Greeks' reverence for water as a life-giving and purifying force. These pools were integral to the gymnasia, where athletes trained their bodies and minds. Imagine the grand Palaestra, where marble basins gleamed under the Mediterranean sun, and water, clear and cool, invited both physical invigoration and meditative calm. These were spaces of harmony, designed to cultivate balance and well-being, embodying the Greek ideal of kalokagathia – the unity of physical and moral excellence.

Fast forward to the 20th century, and the poolside becomes a symbol of modern luxury. Hollywood stars lounged by their azure retreats, epitomizing glamor and sophistication. The pool became a canvas for photographers and filmmakers, a backdrop for stories of romance and intrigue. Think of Slim Aarons' iconic photographs, where the poolside is a stage for the carefree elegance of the jet set. These images evoke a sense of timeless chic, where leisure is elevated to an art form, and the pool becomes a symbol of aspiration and desire.

I personally wouldn’t mind a dip in one of Hiroshi Nagai’s dreamscapes. Here the essence is of 1980’s Japanese pop culture, featuring a nostalgic yet vivid portrayal of summer landscapes. His art features bright, saturated colors and meticulously detailed scenes that evoke a sense of idyllic leisure. Palm trees, pristine beaches, and shimmering pools often populate his compositions, embodying idealized versions of life, both coastal and poolside. Nagai’s work seamlessly blends a retro sensibility with a timeless appeal, creating a visual paradise that transports viewers to a world of perpetual summer.

In our contemporary world, the poolside aesthetic has evolved once more. Minimalist design principles have stripped away the excess, leaving behind clean lines and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. Infinity pools, with their vanishing edges, create the illusion of water merging with sky, blurring the boundaries of our reality. These modern aquatic retreats are no longer just about cooling off; they are sanctuaries of mindfulness and well-being, where one can escape the frenetic pace of life and find serene clarity. The poolside now harmonizes design and nature, offering a refuge that is both luxurious and deeply restorative.

To truly live the poolside life is to submit oneself to a kind of elemental purification, by way of deep worship for water as body, and body as water. Picture yourself reclining on a chaise lounge, a gentle breeze rustling the pages of a novel as the sun dips below the horizon. The air is sweetly perfumed, and the soft glow of lanterns casts a golden hue over the rippling water. This is a place where time slows, where the trivial worries of daily life dissolve, leaving only a profound sense of peace and contentment. In these moments, the heightened aesthetic of poolside life is revealed: the perfect balance of ritual and relaxation.

The evening soiree: laughter mingles with the soft clink of glasses and conversations flow as smoothly as the water. The poolside becomes a stage, where the choreography of light and shadow, movement and stillness, creates an atmosphere of magic and wonder. It is a space that invites both solitude and connection, where one can reflect in quiet contemplation or engage in vibrant celebration. The poolside is a versatile canvas, capable of transforming from a serene retreat during the day to a lively social hub by night.

The poolside experience extends beyond the water’s edge to the surrounding landscape and design elements that frame it. Consider the lush greenery providing a natural backdrop, the carefully chosen furniture inviting relaxation, and the subtle touches of luxury elevating the entire setting. Every element contributes to a harmonious environment, where beauty and comfort coexist in perfect balance. This attention to detail sets the poolside apart, making it a place to savor the pleasures of life.

By way of conclusion, a pool is not just a physical location – it is a state of mind. It represents the intersection of luxury and leisure, a timeless retreat from the mundane. Whether inspired by the grandeur of classical antiquity or the sleek modern design, the poolside offers an unparalleled aesthetic experience. It is a place where we can live our most aesthetic lives, inviting us to slow down, appreciate the moment, and find joy in the art and act of leisure.

As the days grow longer and the allure of the water beckons, seek out your own poolside fantasy – a haven to immerse yourself in the beauty of the moment and the richness of life. For in the embrace of the poolside, we find not just a refuge from the heat but a portal to a world of endless possibilities. Let the poolside be your sanctuary, playground, and canvas for fantasy unknown.



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