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REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW

Interview with Andy Kaner, President at Aquatic Consultants, about Pool Design

Aquatic Consultants, Inc. is a Miami, Florida based International Design Consulting firm specializing in upscale and unusual pool and waterscape designs.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Aquatic Consultants

Aquatic Consultants

REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW

by Meryem Aksoy

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Aquatic Consultants, Inc. is a Miami, Florida based International Design Consulting firm specializing in upscale and unusual pool and waterscape designs. Andrew Kaner, President at Aquatic Consultants Inc, a consulting firm that has been providing uninterrupted service since 1989, describes the company's point of view in a single sentence; "Our mission is to create cutting-edge visual works of art that function in a highly efficient manner to enhance the lives of our clients, their families and friends." I talked to Andrew Kaner to get more detailed information about pool design and consultancy. Enjoy this interview on these sunny summer days.

Aquatic Consultants

Andy Kaner, President at Aquatic Consultants

Andrew, before start talking about Aquatic Consultants, I would like to learn a little bit about you, could you tell us about your educational background and professional career? Who is Andrew Kaner?

I have earned an Associate Degree in Food and Beverage Management, A Bachelors Degree in Hotel Restaurant Management and a Master of Landscape Architecture Degree. I am also a Society of Watershape Designer Master, certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundations Genesis University. I Started out in the hospitality field surrounded by high-end hotels and their facilities. Little did I know how interested I became in the details of the designs I was working around and how I could contribute to improving them. I always loved gardening and working with plants and combining this medium with design landed myself in landscape architecture. Studying landscape architecture at Florida International University led me to water and the design of pools, water features, ponds, landscapes and the living areas that surround them. Now I am president of Aquatic Consultants, an International design consulting firm specializing in unusual watershapes and the spaces that surround them, improving peoples lives and bringing family and friends together everyday, in and around our works of art.

Could you tell us about Aquatic Consultants, Inc.?

Aquatic Consultants is an International design consulting firm specializing in unusual, luxury pools, spas, water features, ponds and the areas that surround them. Our mission is to create cutting-edge visual works of art that function in a highly efficient manner to enhance the lives of our clients, their families and friends.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

Please tell us about your team. What are their backgrounds and roles?

Our team is made of the founder Brian Van Bower with over 45 years of pool construction and design experience. Jonny Nalepa, a second generation pool industry professional who started out in the service industry and now is a full-time Senior design consultant at Aquatic Consultants. Jonny’s extensive service experience and education in design is a one two punch for producing design plans that are highly detailed and efficient. Kevin Villar has a background in Architecture graduating from our alma mater Florida International University with a Master of Architecture degree. Kevin’s design sensibility and his drawing skills contribute to the development of ideas and plans that keep our design ingenuity and plan accuracy at a high level. Laura Meyers is our bookkeeper who keeps us all together and brings us back to reality when needed. She has years of experience with managing businesses and keeping the accounting together. She is also a die-hard windsurfer who surfed professionally and whom you will see catching some wicked air and in and around the water most of the time.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

What type of pools do you design? Which style is the most popular?

We create highly detailed designs and plans that contractors build from. The most popular pool is the one that fits the client best. Everyone is different and has its own character but vanishing edge and perimeter overflow pools are some of the most popular. Clear acrylic windows are trending in a big way currently.

Do you still use paper and pen for your sketches, or is everything digital now?

Our original concepts are started out as concept sketches. Once we like what we see, it then becomes digital. Complex details and ideas are often times sketched out by hand on paper, for communication purposes. Or to come up with a new idea or different way of doing something it helps to sketch it out first.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

Could you explain your design processes?

It starts with direct communications with the client to find out how they want to use the space. We ask several questions and get to know them, their ideas and who they are. We then go to the drawing board to sketch out ideas based on our findings and our experience. Once we like what we see it goes into AutoCAD. Often times we present a simple 2D plan and other times we present 3D sketches and sometimes photorealistic 3D perspective drawings. Once the clients approve we begin the sections, details and dive into the mechanical and hydraulic design to make it all work.

Which project do you define as your masterwork?

This is a tough question. I truly believe that our masterwork is any project that we are working on currently. Some are definitely more over the top than others but each project provides substantial meaning and thought so it is hard to define any one specific “masterwork”. We have a project that is just finishing its final touches of the design phase that includes an elevated vanishing edge pool on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean. The pool has a large shallow lounging area and a perimeter overflow spa. There is a fire pit on one end that is sunken into the pool with a two-sided overflow edge so that it appears like the water spills into it and the fire flares out above it. This entire structure spills into a lazy river that goes around the entire perimeter over the upper-level vanishing edge pool. There are bridges that pass over the lazy river and a shallow lounging area with an acrylic panel in the floor that can view the tube riders as they pass under it and through a rain curtain. There is a swim-up bar flanking one end and a beach entry to dock your tubes around the river. There is also an acrylic viewing panel on the outer edge wall that you can look through and see the horizon and the ocean beyond. This is all at a private residence.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

Could you tell us about commercial and residential pool construction market in Miami? What is the Aquatic Consultants, Inc. role in this market?

The commercial market is a tough one to be creative in. We have a saying that we use often that says “if its fun, interesting and different you can’t have it commercially.” There are just too many restrictions in the US. Most of our commercial work is out of the country where there is less restraint. We have commercial work in Bermuda, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic among others. We work for a lot of architects, landscape architects and homeowners alike in helping them enhance their visions in the water feature and pool design. Since we don’t build we have a handful of local and abroad builders that are doing good work that we refer to. Some of them appreciate our contributions in that manner and helps the industry. We also have an educational entity, the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Genesis University. This is an international educational society that certifies industry professionals in watershaping design and construction. The ultimate level of a certified professional out of the university will hold the title Society of Watershape Designer Master. Both Brian and I have this Master designation. Genesis raises the bar in the industry and in fact has created a parallel industry of higher level thinking and education that certifies, educates and connects like-minded individuals. www.genesis3.com. Genesis puts on educational seminars and courses through the year and every year at the International Pool and Spa Show, this year it will be held in Las Vegas.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

What are the most important factors that affect the project cost?

We have designed $50,000.00 pools and pools up to 3 million plus. There are so many factors that affect cost but one, in particular, is the pools finish material. We have many pools that are clad in all tile interiors. There are tiles that go for $8.00 a square foot and tiles that go upwards of $50 plus a square foot. You can imagine how this could impact the bottom line.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

How many weeks does it take to complete an average residential project?

It really depends on the project and its location. Our design time on an average project is about two to three weeks to complete our design work. We have some projects that go on for several years and we are often times asked to be a part of the construction process and provide site visits and inspections all the way up until there is water in the pool. This could take anywhere from three months to three years.

Aquatic Consultants

Designed by Aquatic Consultants

What are the most popular features that your clients demand?

There are definite trends and popular features but every client is different. We try to determine and chart their DNA to come up with a custom project that fits. To attempt to answer your question, things like the Lautner Knife Edge slot perimeter overflow, named after the architect John Lautner is a popular detail. Clear acrylic panels are huge right now. Detached living spaces around the pool like outdoor kitchens and covered terraces are pretty popular. Combining the indoors with smooth magical transitions and transparent connections to the outdoor environment is a popular design element. Shallow lounging areas and fire features are also consistently popular.

How do you use social media for Aquatic Consultants, Inc.? How can our readers follow you?

We have Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook account where you can find us. The best way to see our projects and learn about us is on our website. www.aquaticconsultantsinc.com There you will find over 100 images in our galleries of work.

Thank you Andy for this informative interview.

For more information, please visit website of Aquatic Consultants





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