MORE than 18,000 visitors came from across the globe to the largest pools and spa exhibition in Lyon, France, to see new and innovative products that showcased how far the sector has advanced.
The Piscine Global 2014, a biennial event, was held last month (November 18 to 21) at the Eurexpo exhibition centre. More than half of the exhibitors (53 per cent) were from outside France, including from the Americas, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. There were 600 suppliers and 1,000 brands represented. The location was chosen since the Rhône-Alpes region with its capital Lyon represents 10 per cent of the national market, generating a turnover of €140 million ($173 million), according to the organiser.
“The French just love pools,” Noemi Petit, the show’s director told Gulf Construction magazine, adding that France has the largest number of pools in Europe (1.7 million) with one pool for 41 people. It’s also the world’s second biggest market after the US with an annual turnover of €1.5 billion ($1.86 billion).
Two key concerns in this sector are safety and hygiene of pools, according to Petit who indicated that the French government has strict stipulations on this issue. “As such, permission needs to be sought from authorities to build a pool even in your garden. And then a builder is obligated to ensure that he provides secure and safe solution,” she said. In addition, the French Federation of Pool Professionals (FPP) has a separate hygiene commission, Petit pointed out.
Piscine Global had three themed expos under one roof: Piscine, for private pools and spas; Aqualie, for public pools; and the Living Pool Exhibition, which showcased the art of blending a pool with its outdoor environment. There were dedicated zones for live demonstrations, water tests and new products. Also featured were training sessions, seminars and conferences.
The exhibition focused on innovation through a number of awards. The Top 100 and Pool Eco Attitude Innovation Trophies went to the most outstanding technical and sustainable innovations. A jury selected 16 winners from more than 60 products for the top awards. Amongst these winners was Dreamcover, which won in the safety equipment category for its innovative swimming pool enclosure storage solution.
The Dreamcover is activated by simply pressing a button, which makes the enclosure disappear, freeing up the entire pool deck area, said the company’s Stephane Barral.
In the health and fitness category, WSD Waterspadivan was the winner for its transportable hydro-massage chair. The company’s owner, Jose Torregrosa, said: “The chair is fitted with strategically positioned water jets directed at the back and calves, and air jets for the thighs and buttocks. It is extremely easy to install without the need to empty the pool, reducing its impact on the environment.”
Torregrosa said his company was in contact with distributors in the Middle East.
The Pool Vision competition, dedicated to pool and spa design trends, was held once again this year. Some 83 projects worldwide were submitted, and three winners were chosen. Separately, 30 projects were submitted for the best Showroom Academy award. The winner here was Debernardi Piscines.
Among the exhibitors was Futura Play, which showcased its Aqua Bike and Baby Cocoon floating seat, amongst other products. Marc Striebel, the company’s sales representative, said the seat could support children weighing up to 11 kg and allowed parents to leave their kids in the pools unattended. Striebel said his company was doing business in the Middle East through a provider.
Also exhibiting was Saint-Gobain with its Cyrstar FT ceramic membrane filters. Christian Boniface, sales manager, said his company’s product was an alternative for the traditional sand filters. “Cyrstar requires less water (up to 60 per cent) during washing of pools compared to sand filtering and so is suitable for the Gulf region.”
An exciting product on display was Poolfloor, a moving floor that changes the pool into a terrace in a matter of minutes. Bernard Gochgrarian, the director of Pink Floor, said the mechanism comprises beams which were filled with air to lift the floor and with water to pull it down. Poolfloor could be stabilised at any level and go to a total depth of 2.1 m.
Another eye-catcher was WSP’s new technology, which transforms water to make objects float thus preventing accidental drowning especially in the case of children, people with special needs or those who cannot swim. The company’s general manager Antonio Ibanez de Alba said the water was non-corrosive, colourless, odourless and tasteless, and contained no salts.
Piscine has editions outside Europe as well, including Piscine Middle East, which has held from April 22 to 24 this year at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE, and Piscine Splash Asia to be held from May 20 to 21, 2015, at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.