This week we spoke to Director Miles Hartwell from Splinter Works, the creators of bespoke swimming pool slides. The company was founded by Miles, and fellow director Matt Withington in 2009 after they were inspired by leaders in the design-art industry such as Wendell Castle and Sebastian Brajkovic. They describe themselves as ‘instinctively driven’ to create objects that are engaging, inspiring and a delight to use.

 

“Shoot” Splinter Works’ first swimming pool slide

CWR: Tell us about your first swimming pool slide project

Hartwell:

A while ago we were studying shoots of water.  Inspired by these projecting shapes, we turned the sketches into a concept for a sculptural water slide that would be cantilevered over the pool.  The idea was that you would climb and slide the arc of water, in this lovely, imaginary, gravity-defying ride.  When this concept has been rendered, we put it on our website.  A few months later, a client saw it online, and wanted one for his pool in Florida.

Developing the render into an actual, deliverable, safety-compliant item was exciting but not without challenges!  Once fully resolved and installed, we realised this work was a turning point for us as a company.  Creating these pieces are enormously satisfying because of the interesting shapes you can create, and the way they bring people to together to have fun.”

 

 

CWR: What makes you passionate about producing artistic slides?

Hartwell:

“Reflex” swimming pool slide.

“Matt and I have a passion to look at things differently. We aim to reimagine familiar objects. We turn it back on itself and offer people a new perspective on something they know, like a table, or swimming pool slide or a bathtub. The only function of a pool slide is to have fun, there are no rules on what they should look like. The act of falling can be sculpted quite nicely to our style, because you can come up with some dynamic, fluid shapes that you cannot create with a table.                                                                                                                           

When I think about the children that came back from school to see the “Reflex” slide for the first time there were literally shrieks of excitement.Their jaws were on the floor. To see the smile on the fathers face when the children were using the slide for the first time was something else. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to create work that brings people together for fun and games.”                                                                                                                                        

CWR: How much influence does the client have in the development process and what are the time frames?

Hartwell:

There are no rules, but loosely speaking, we would go and see clients at their property or work from plans. We would have a meeting with the client/architect and take a brief. Off the back of that we would come up with 1 or 2 concepts, those concepts would come with a ballpark price. After that it would roughly take a couple of months for design development, 3-4 months spent manufacturing the product, then 6-7 weeks to deliver it, then a day to install it.

These timeframes depend on the type of project. For example, a small brushed slide may take 10 weeks to produce but a large polished slide may take 16 weeks.”

“Waha” swimming pool slide, inspired by a barrel wave.
“Waha” swimming pool slide, inspired by a barrel wave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

CWR: How do you keep your artistry whilst meeting safety regulations?

Hartwell:

That is the main challenge. That is what makes us different from other companies. We rigorously cross reference British standards and American standards because each slide is custom made the engineering is unique to each piece, and therefore complex and a new challenge each time.”

CWR: Where do you fabricate and assemble your products?

Hartwell:

It depends what material we are working in, everything we make except for metal slides is made in the UK. We have to make the metal slides abroad because it is too expensive to make them in this country.

We would love to make them in the UK but we just cant at the moment. They are made in China but that is not something that should be scoffed at because the people that make them construct sculpture pieces for western artists and their work is absolutely incredible. The metal slides are made by guys sitting on stools with hammers bashing squares of metal into shape, welding them together then polishing out the welds. Its hard to believe because the shapes are so pure!”

CWR: What are your future goals for the company?

Hartwell:

In the short term, we are getting excited by the swimming pool slides. We can feel the companys focus shifting from kitchens and furniture to slides, although that isnt going to happen overnight.

The swimming pool slides are very much the most demanding aspect of the business and we see a bright future for it. There are lots of people making kitchens and furniture but, we are the only company creating sculptural swimming pool slides and that is an exciting place to be!

So far we have had incredible responses from our clients and our mission for the future is to continue to prove that pool slides can be anything from an eyesore to a swimming pool. Our slides aim to be a sculptural highlight that enhances their surroundings and appeal to kids and big kids alike!”