This poolscape designed by Joan Roca and George Moreno Architect and built by Joan Roca features a spa finished in textured black granite and pool finished with natural Sukabumi stone. Photograph by Rocio Escobar

Sublime Style: Interview with Pool Designer Joan Roca

Roca has designed and built more than 1,000 residential and commercial pools during his illustrious 45-year career.

“A swimming pool is a piece of art in water,” says award-winning designer Joan Roca. “It’s a reflection of the space and the owner’s personality.”

Roca, whose eponymous firm is based in Jacksonville, Florida, has designed and built more than 1,000 residential and commercial pools during his 45-year career, creating a sublime signature style that incorporates natural stone imported from Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Bali and a variety of avant-garde technological features.

“My designs are simple, and each one is innovative and in sync with the style of the house,” he says. “I don’t show off or try to impress or impose my ideas and desires on the client.”

Roca’s design process is straightforward: He visits the site, consults the client then creates a hand-drawn, colored-pencil design that is transformed to a 3-D computer rendering and video.

“I like the feeling of sitting at my drawing table,” he says. “The ideas just flow.”

One of his more elaborate creations was for an affluent family in Costa Rica, where Roca spent most of his life and career before moving operations to Florida in 2021.

The poolscape, which covers an acre of the enormous back yard, features a grotto that has a spa, a cascading waterfall the children love to dive off of, a swim-up bar, an infinity-edge pool, and a synchronized fountain.

An indoor lap pool in Costa Rica designed and built by Joan Roca. The interior is finished with natural Sukabumi stone from Indonesia. The spa in the space has the same finish. Fully equipped with Pentair. Photograph by Rocio Escoba

“It’s like a water garden in a personal five-star resort,” he says.

One of his newer designs, which has an infinity-edge swimming pool, a hot/cold spa, a marble terrace and two fire pits, is for a client with a beachfront house in Jacksonville.

Project designed by Joan Roca and Mallol Arquitectos and built by Joan Roca. Photograph by Rocio Escoba

“It’s really special,” Roca says, “because the clients loved the design so much that they demolished their house and are building a new one to go with the pool.”

Roca began his career in the swimming pool industry in 1975 and established Joan Roca Master Pool Designs in 2005 after graduating from Genesis University as a master professional water shape designer.

Designed and built by Joan Roca. Courtesy of Joan Roca

Since his move to the United States, Roca’s work has expanded: He’s completed designs for clients not only in Florida, but also in a number of other states, including Texas and Georgia.

Now, he’s looking forward to working with clients around the world.

“Designing pools is my passion—it fills my soul,” he says. “My greatest satisfaction is creating something that makes people happy.”

Photographs courtesy of Joan Roca


Get Our Email Newsletter

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter to get the latest from featured pool builders and designers who create the ultimate backyard escapes.
Stop dreaming and start planning your backyard retreat.