This ‘Legendary’ Pool Builder Begins Each Mission with a Clay Mannequin| Pool & Spa Information
At a time when swimming pools and living spaces in the backyard can be displayed in breathtaking 3D details and brought to lively virtual life via a VR headset, Allan Curtis is something of a Luddite.
“I was the first in Michigan to have 2D and 3-D design software when it came out. I used it for a year or two and found I didn’t like it at all, ”said Curtis, a contractor and designer at Legendary Escapes who works in the greater Detroit area.
This is partly because the company has specialized in elaborately themed pool landscapes that are unimaginable on a computer screen. Curtis has not yet found any software with which he could, for example, plunge a pirate ship next to a pool or recreate an old knotted tree for a rope swing at the deep end. Design programs, he said, only tighten his creativity. Additionally, Curtis believes miniature sculptures serve his customers better than digital drawings.
“When you stand there with an object in front of you, I can convey more of the idea of what I’m doing,” he said.
Sculpture became an integral part of his design process about 10 years ago when Legendary Escapes made a name for themselves as a vinyl pool installer with a penchant for extravagant shotcrete features: custom rock formations, grottos, sun shelves … you name it.
He starts with a piece of polymer clay that is molded, painted, baked and adorned with trees, bushes and tiny people in bathing suits. The process takes three to four hours.
The details play an important role. “It gives the customer a scale context,” Curtis said. “These little people give [clients] a general sense of how high a wall will be, how high a waterfall will be, how long the pool will be because they transform into that little character. ”
Sometimes these clay figures even look like his customers. For example, a customer with a Mohawk received his own miniature version with the distinctive hairstyle.