DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
Delve into the unbelievable world of ornamental aquatic design at the highest echelons of society.
BENJAMIN FRANCIS-WOODWARD FDSc BSc (HONS)
CEO OF WWW.PRIVAQUA.COM
When we think of luxury goods we first think about jewellery, sports cars, yachts and jets respectively but aquariums on average cost the same as a lot of luxury sports cars and there is a lack of information to potential purchasers of these beautiful artistic additions to homes and places of work. Over the years we have installed fish tanks in hundreds of private residences ranging from free standing bespoke aquariums in the region of $12,000 with our most exclusive aquarium we offer – “the opulence” which contained a diamond encrusted Tyrannosaurus Rex bone sat on a Louis 5th ivory and gold stand and cost in excess of $3million. This however has been a one off and our average aquarium typically costs in the region of $70,000 - $90,000 (USD).
The key in building bespoke designs in all luxury industries is to first learn about the client’s tastes, it may seem irrelevant when discussing fish tanks but key information for us in choosing the final species of fish lay heavily on the clients taste in music, art, vehicles and properties. Once we know some key information, we can then design aquariums around the clients discerning pallet. A good example of this is a fish tank we made for a Gentlemen in Dubai who loved Leonardo da Vinci paintings. After some research I learned about Da Vinci’s penchant for the golden ratio of 1:1.618 in his art. This ratio is thought to be the most aesthetic ratio in nature and design, top models, flowers and colourful animals alike quite often fall into this ratio aspect when considering their colours and facial symmetry. Using this information, I was able to find fish such as the Blue Faced Angelfish Pomacanthus xanthometopon who have a close resemblance to that ratio. So, we made the aquarium to a close proportion of 1:1.618, the rock sculptures in the aquarium and the fish were as near to the golden ratio as possible so the client ended up with a fish tank that Leonardo da Vinci would hopefully have loved as well.
As far as the main attraction of the aquarium is concerned – the fish – there are some considerations to make. The species of fish a client can keep in an aquarium is split into freshwater and saltwater. Once this has been established, we can then plan the design around the type of fish, for instance if the client would like saltwater fish, would they also like a coral reef? In this case we take into consideration fish that would naturally damage the reef such as puffer fish and take this into our long-term plan for the aquarium. It may well be the client had a memorable trip of a lifetime in the Amazon and they would like an aquarium installed into their office that reminds them of that wonderful journey they took, so in this case we would import the wood and fish from the Amazon and create them a window into that domain for both nostalgia and fascination.
In this fast-paced world, we live in an aquarium commission with the latest low maintenance technology is always there in a home an office or indeed a hotel. A person with a demanding lifestyle can take just a few minutes out of their day and just absorb the elegant fish and moving water as an art form. The fish themselves can be peaceful or exciting private collections of sharks and stingrays.
We have installed aquariums in galleries next to some of the world’s finest paintings and the fish will always have the highest retention of people’s admiration than anything else. So perhaps just to have a personal touch, a window into nature within one’s private space, an aquarium can be a very important part of a busy person’s life to stop and reflect.