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BEIJING 2008: ITALIAN WATER THANKS TO PISCINE CASTIGLIONE


The empathic understanding between Piscine Castiglione and great sporting events has now become constant: the Italian company’s most recent, prestigious project, which closed 2007 with revenue of 55 million Euros and is expected to increase to 62 million by the year’s end, is the Beijing 2008 swimming pool for the water polo and modern pentathlon competitions. But this is only the most recent, grand project the Italian company has had, which boasts a prestigious curriculum, consolidated thanks to the ability of supplying competition pools which can be mounted in stadiums and indoor sports arenas and then removed once the event is over. Over the past 14 years, Piscine Castiglione’s exclusive technologies have been used to construct swimming pools for about fifteen great international sporting events, from the Atlanta Olympic Games to several World and European Swimming Championships, and also those of the U.S. Olympic Trials and Universiades.

We have asked Annalisa Colletto, the company’s advisor and daughter of the Managing Director, Roberto Colletto: how does the company manage to create temporary structures, adhering to deadlines stipulated by the contractors and providing maximum guarantees in terms of technology, design and materials chosen?

Our swimming pools are modular: they are built with bolted stainless steel panels laminated in PVC, which are subsequently sealed. Installation is very quick thanks to a highly evolved technology that uses particular materials for the intended purpose: stainless steel to carry out the static function and PVC to guarantee impermeability. Our team consists of 40 designers who work with two-dimensional programs («AutoCAD») and three-dimensional mechanical modelers («Inventor»).

Currently, your competition is limited to manufacturers of concrete pools, whereas, you are the global leaders in «prefabricated» structures. My question is: which markets do you pursue more effectively?

With regards to exports, since reinforced concrete is our reference competitor, we have greater success in countries where labour costs are high or where knowledge concerning design technology is not particularly advanced and therefore, our contribution of know-how is sought-after. This explains the excellent results obtained in both the United States and China. Generally, our major end markets are the United States, the main European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China. The export share is around 50 percent of the revenues.

Myrtha technology – the original German patent you have acquired - is one of your crowning achievements. What is it all about and what advantages does it offer, compared to the traditional technologies used in building swimming pools? With particular reference to «flexibility», what advantages does this technology offer when creating shapes, which so far have been difficult to obtain?

Over the years, this technology has been greatly developed with particular patents being applied to both the technological and aesthetic specifics. In particular, apart from the various possibilities of adjusting the verticality and levelling of the structure, we have added a finishing touch in tiles to the top part of the pool and placed a soft mat called Softwalk at the bottom of the pool and we have also developed a technology called RenovAction for restructuring old swimming pools. Moreover, we have developed many radii of curvature in order to adapt to the designers’ wishes.

Piscine Castiglione does not limit itself to the creation of the pool systems, but has always been attentive to the design, installation and after-sales management: how do you manage to reach customers spread across Italy and the rest of the world?

Within the company there is a specific division called Service that deals with after-sales assistance. In Italy, the network is very widespread, consisting of about 100 centres, whereas abroad it varies according to the extent of our presence in the market. Thanks to our distributors, we guarantee that technical assistance will be available to the client, whenever and wherever, over the years.

The last barrier to be overcome may be winning over great designers. What role could architects have in further accrediting your product, managing even the aesthetic tools?

In the designers and particularly in the architects, we have identified the fundamental decision-makers in our sector. That is why, in recent years, we have focused our attention on them, by developing finishes which are original and have an aesthetic impact as well as a consultancy service regarding regulations and the possibilities of our technology, in order to adapt to their creative ideas. During 2008 we have 34 conferences planned throughout Italy, and the scope is for the designers to gain knowledge about the possibilities that Myrtha technology has to offer.

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