Friday, July 9, 2010

The most beautiful room

Throughout my art and architectural history education, I've always heard of the most beautiful room in the world. The pictures are famous, we've all surely seen them: the Roman Pool at San Simeon.Hearst had the indoor pool created between 1927 and 1934 for guests who didn't want to use the now equally famous Neptune Pool which was outdoors. Sadly, most guests chose not to use the indoor pool as its' location was a bit out of the way, located far underneath the tennis courts which were already much lower than the rest of the hilltop estate.The pool still went to good use though, the servants were granted permission to have the pool at their disposal. Some perk! Above is the diving platform. Light streams into the space from a skylight above.The room and pool were styled on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome while the blue and gold mosaics were based on the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. Windows line the room on 3 sides with shaded views of the surrounding mountains while the 4th side (seen in most of these photos) leads to different exercise rooms. Eight copies of ancient Greek and Roman statues were started in 1930 by Carlo Freter in Pietrasanta, Italy in white marble to match the white marble lamps that line the room and estate.The pool itself has a deep flat bottom, perfect for diving, while the area underneath the diving platform becomes more shallow. Not a pool for beginners!The Venetian glass tiles are arranged in a mosaic pattern of marine sea monsters, a popular theme for baths in Roman times. Yes, the gold tiles are actually lined with REAL gold!I loved these white marble pool ladders -identical to the ones up at the Neptune pool. They're a bit more stylish than the stainless steel variety one finds now! Last but not least, the enormous tennis courts which fill the roof of the pool. I hope you enjoyed this opulent peak at the most beautiful pool I've ever seen!
Written permission was kindly granted to post my interior photos of San Simeon on this blog. Please respect that and do not copy without permission. Thanks!

15 comments:

Dagny @ Scandinavian Chic said...

Oh, I couldn't agree moore!!! I think I took like 180 pics of that room when we had the tour, all the detailing is AMAZING! I could totally picture myself taking my morning swim there, lol :D

Great post!!

xx
dagny

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

Fab post. I love that I learn something with each of your posts. I've heard of this place before, so it was interesting to see more of it and the facts behind it. I'd love to try diving in from that platform.

BWS said...

Beautiful post. Makes me long to have seen Bath at the height of its color.

David Toms said...

That is just beautiful! Those lucky servants! The gold and the blue is soo elegant. Very easy to lose youself in another era if you just happened to be there. Your photos are beautiful!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

A stunning tour! And, even though it is an indoor pool it still creates a very cooling and refreshing atmosphere. Lucky servants indeed!

And, your are so right about the marble ladders...the detail and work that went into creating these is awe inspiring.

It has me wondering what the interior library ladders must look like!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Everyone always says such nice things -thanks :-)
Acanthus, I won't be doing a whole series of posts on San Simeon like I did on Filoli (that would take 3 years, transforming this into the san simeon blog!) but I will be posting some of my hightlights from the estate. I'll be sure to show the library ladders for you, but they sadly don't compare to these marble ones!

Woody said...

San Simeon, how common. How utterly vulgar. Everyone's over the blue and gold indoor pools, you know. I've started using mine to store mannequins. They blend in so well with the pedestrian white marble.

Haha, I think everyone's always nice because the photos you always take are stunning. No exception here! Thanks for the post!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Haha, Woody -actually it WAS all a little vulgar and over the top (except for this pool!) but more on that later :-)

(IN)DECOROUS TASTE said...

This pool is beautiful! Thank you for posting these photos.

Gramercy Home said...

You captured the beauty well!! Did they have to drag you out of there?

Reynolds Still said...

Incredible images AD! Hearst Castle has been a favorite of mine since....FOREVER! How lucky that you've seen it in person. I bet it took your breath away. Thanks again for sharing your vision and thoughts. LOVED IT friend!

As always.....

Best regards,
Reynolds Still

Concrete Jungle said...

Gorgeous...I seem to remember on the tour they told us Hearst had to have the Italian factory reopened to produce those unique and fabulous tiles...one of the greatest things about Hearst's wonderful spending habits.

Lesley said...

Thanks for this-I have had a thing about San simeon since reading an article on it about 40 years ago. Always thought this would be one of the most beautiful bits and you have proved that!
Maybe I will get to go one day!
Best
R

Jonathan said...

The pool is truly lovely, but I must say the blue and gold mosaics have very little in common with those at Galla Placidia (apart from being blue and gold). And San Simeon is far superior!

Elle said...

Do you think it was Julia Morgan who designed all the tile layouts? Wow... Such craftsmanship in the installation! Love the curved mosaic tiled walls.