by Sara Costi
On the Vendée coast, in the Loire region of France that runs alongside the Atlantic Ocean, the Multiplexe Aquatique Saint Gilles Croix de Vie is located in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez. Designed by the architecture firm BLP Brochet Lajus Pueyo, it seems to blend seamlessly and appealingly into the landscape formed by the salt pans and the Vie river in this attractive Natura 2000 protected area.
The three graceful petal shapes that form the roof recall the gentle waves of the water and the ripples of a ray moving through the ocean, while a mesh structure winds its way around the area of the four indoor pools and contains the large window panes of varying heights.
Inside, the complex has four swimming areas, with a layout in sequence designed to make the most of the sunlight throughout the day: a 25-metre sports pool with five lanes and a depth ranging from 1.30 to 2.50 metres, directly accessible from the reception, and which, during competitions, can be closed off from the other pools; a two-lane “fun and learning” pool with a depth of between 1.20 and 1.40 metres, complete with counter-current swimming and a bench and loungers with water jet massage; and a swimming pool for children with multi-jet water fountain, mushroom water fall and geyser features. At the end of this area, in an area closed off by a wooden and glass wall that can be opened when required, is a fourth pool for other water activities. The complex also includes a solarium, wellness area, two saunas, a Turkish bath, a cold water well, a large water jet massage tub, an indoor sunbathing area and a 25-metre outdoor pool with a large terrace.
All the indoor pools are tiled with Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware tiles from the Landscape collection, in the colours Ocean and Tundra, with Grip, Friction and Rigata anti-slip finishes and equipped with the innovative Bios Antibacterial technology.
To highlight the main structure with the swimming pools, all the changing rooms and plant rooms are housed in a building next to the main structure, made in raw concrete to blend into the surrounding landscape.
The white metal structure, the light-coloured floors, the light concrete walls and the strips of wood blend beautifully with the vegetation of the surrounding landscape, creating a highly distinctive, dynamic, natural architecture.
In swimming facilities, removing bacteria from surfaces offers significant added value to combat mould, yeast and fungi. Bios Antibacterial® is a range of porcelain stoneware flooring and covering products that can remove up to 99.9% of the four most common bacterial strains present in confined environments: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus faecalis.
On pool borders in particular, the concentration of sebum and dead skin cells combines with germs to create stains and slimy deposits that not only ruin the appearance of the coverings, but can also reduce the anti-slip capacity of the surfaces and make them less safe to walk on. In all these cases, the antibacterial effect of Bios Antibacterial® helps remove unpleasant odours and maintain the anti-slip properties of the tiles, offering a wide-ranging series of guarantees.