As the list of columns and articles appearing on these pages has grown longer and longer through the years, it has often been my pleasant duty to use my own column to call attention to
specific stories and authors.
Most often, I do what I can to lend my own perspective to what they have to say, drawing connections between their work and a larger context or setting up expectations for something special. Some of these authors appear regularly among these pages, others less frequently – but in all cases they deserve credit for advancing dialogues that many of you tell me have profoundly influenced the way you approach your working lives.
This time, I’d like to get a bit more focused than usual and spotlight one of the watershaping industry’s most passionate and accomplished practitioners, my good friend Paul Benedetti. This “pool contractor par excellence” has been a part of the WaterShapes family for many years now, and in this issue (click here) he delves deeply into the subject of finding sources for materials.
This latest feature is just one example of the enthusiasm and dedication Paul brings to the process of designing and building top-flight residential watershapes. In this case, he reviews a number of sourcing methods that are tried and true, but the remarkable thing is the way he shares some unusual approaches that many in his position would have guarded as secret – as his edges in a competitive marketplace.
Instead, he speaks with years of experience in beating the bushes for the ideas and new products that characterize his work and the beautiful stone, tile, concrete treatments and other materials that make their way into his designs. Along the way, he argues for making substantial investments of time, money and energy, using his body of work to define the benefits of his approach and his candor to make it accessible on a number of levels.
This subject of finding and using great materials has been a thread of discussion we’ve woven through a huge number of columns and features published in WaterShapes through the years, but no writer has ever gone as far as Paul has here to lay out an approach to making it happen in a practical, ongoing way.
As I see it, this discussion defines an open-mindedness that defines the true potential of watershaping: At its best, it’s an art form that is about possibilities and, quite often, about presenting unexpected and even surprising options to clients. The fact is, clients can’t ask for materials they’ve never seen or have never considered in the context of a watershape; what Paul and like-minded colleagues do is make the case for unusual choices that continually expand the realm of watershaping possibilities.
stepping beyond the boundaries of standard product offerings – and by sharing details of his approach – he invites all watershapers to join him in expanding material options and applications. When enough of you join him in the hunt, creative horizons will broaden and your clients will reap the benefits.
For my part, I feel lucky to know people like Paul who refuse to accept the status quo – and even luckier to be able to provide all of them with a forum in which they can tell their dynamic stories.