The blue lagoon
Unable to find enough water for a Chile resort development, Fernando Fischmann decided to create his own lagoon.
Unable to find a large enough supply of water to support a resort development in Chile, businessman and biochemist Fernando Fischmann decided to create his own lagoon.
In a region where the biggest and the best is almost a byword for good design, it comes as no surprise that Crystal Lagoon's record breaking supersize swimming pool creation has captured the imagination of developers in the region.
The firm has yet to confirm a deal in the Middle East, but according to its website, is in the preliminary stage of projects in Dubai (The Arabian Canal, Limitless, and The World Islands, Nakheel), and Egypt (Soma City, Hurghada, Egypt).
Fernando Fischmann, creator of the technology behind the lagoon, first came to the world's attention in 2007 when his initial project, a one kilometre long lagoon on the Chilean resort of San Alfonso del Mar, was officially certified as the world's largest swimming pool by the Guinness Book of Records.
Covering eight hectares in surface area, the lagoon contains a vast body of water - 2.5 million litres of water, equivalent to 6,000 standard swimming pools. It is turquoise in colour and transparent to up to 30 metres.
Fischmann came up with the idea of developing the lagoon, he tells Commercial Outdoor Design, after purchasing 90 hectares of land at San Alfonso del Mar, which is approximately 110 kilometres west of the capital Santiago.
He intended to transform the land into a holiday resort, but found his plans thwarted by the natural habitat of the location, in particular the seawater, which was choppy and too cold for bathing.
"I needed to find a way to build a project that would be competitive in the market and decided that building a lagoon with beaches inside would be a solution to this problem," he explains.
The problem was finding a supply of water that was large enough for all guests to use and of high enough quality for it to be used for bathing and water sports.
"I travelled all over the world to find a technology that could solve this problem of having a huge volume of water in crystal clear condition and I couldn't find it," he says.
Being an entrepreneurial sort, Fischmann decided to solve the problem by developing the technology himself.
A qualified biochemist, he developed a technology that treats water from the sea to supply the lagoon with crystal clear water.
Fischmann declined to reveal full details on the patented process, but did explain that the technology uses a part-oxidation system that disinfects the water with pulses. The system uses approximately 100 times fewer chemicals than would be used in a normal swimming pool.
It would be impossible to achieve the same result using conventional swimming pool technology, he says. "If you use [traditional] swimming pool technology, the project is unviable. You would need 6000 filters and 6000 litres of chlorine," he says.
Completed in December 2006, the lagoon has been a resounding success, hitting headlines around the world and helping to boost the economy of the San Alfonso del Mar region.
The water of the lagoon offers a number of advantages over seawater, according to Fischmann.
For one thing, as it covers a smaller expanse, it tends to be warmer than seawater, helping to extend the holiday season in regions such as Chile where the water is typically cold.
The water is also suitable for water sports and its aesthetic appeal of the lagoon has proved popular in the region. "The big thing about this concept is that the beach is absolutely white sand. We're creating what you can see in idyllic tropical islands," he says.
Following his success at San Alfonso del Mar, Fischmann has gone on to work on nine other projects in Chile, as well as taking the concept to resorts in Panama and Argentina.
And as far as Fischmann is concerned, the work so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Neither natural water nor a swimming pool, but somewhere between the two, the concept is set for big business, he predicts.
"There are two ways of relating to water today in the world," says Fischmann. "One is natural beaches, seas, lakes, etc and two is swimming pools. This is a third alternative. It has a dimension that will start having uses all over the world."