It is obvious that the Netherlands have a slight problem with water. Heck, we talked about it on Monday- the country risks massive floods in the coming decades, and their architects and engineers are trying to figure out how to cope with it. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate the power and beauty of water. Indeed, people who deal with the sea tend to have more of a respect and love for it than the landlocked. A Dutch coastal villa shows just how much beauty can be extracted from nature, put into a gorgeous man-made setting.
This house was designed by the Dutch studio Centric Design Group (that link takes you to a foreign-language site, but you can have it translated or you can learn, like I did, that it doesn’t seem so hard to speak Dutch. It looks like English with a few syllables tacked on to the end- or perhaps English is a simplified Dutch. Either way.) The first thing that jumps out at you, of course, if what seems to be the opposite of an infinity pool. Whereas those pools seem to stretch into forever, this comes to an abrupt and clear stop, so it looks as if the water is simply hovering.
It isn’t of course, but the unique design allows for a spillover, creating a very gentle waterfall on the other side of the pool. As you displace water, it flows naturally back into itself, with a stony setting reminiscent of the seashore. An amateur and over-reaching psychologist could attribute this recycling to a sublimated hope that the oceans will recede rather than overwhelm, but the actual truth is probably both more prosaic and more interesting at the same time: it is beautiful.
The pool area is surrounded by trees, giving you a feeling of sunshine and isolation. It is a long and somewhat narrow pool, seemingly designed more for peaceful and contemplative laps than horsing around and playing Marco Polo. A sub-tropical villa hard on the North Sea, the villa seems to breed a sense of oneness with water.
Of course, a pool is not an ocean, and they come with a sense of expectation: to be able to relax and enjoy the day after a swim. You are imitating nature, but are not subsumed by it. So for that post-dip relaxation or evening cocktail, the villa reveals itself to have all the modern amenities you desire, like a lounge…
…and, of course, a hot tub.
Our amateur psychologist is beginning to come up with a theory about how the cold North Sea leads to a desire for a hot whirlpool, but he is trailing off, eyeing the tub, knowing that while theories are great, there are few things more relaxing than easing yourself into the swirling jets, letting your eyes drift closed with the after-image of a visually impeccable blend of architecture and nature floating in the foreground, while the ocean roars harmlessly and soundlessly and endlessly in the distance.