Aquatic Habitats is an award winning aquatic architectural firm. They have designed and built hundreds of breathtaking water features in the backyards of our friends and neighbors. Their work includes: estate lakes and ponds, natural bottom ponds and pools, koi and goldfish ponds, fountains, streams, waterfalls, and a variety of water gardens.
John Artarian, founder of the Westhampton-based company, recently answered a few questions and brought to light some of the more fascinating aspects of his life’s work.
John, you formally began Aquatic Habitats nearly 20 years ago. When did you first become involved in this type of work?
JA: I started off in this field working for a local Hamptons pond company. When the owner decided to sell, I recognized the opportunity to own my own business. It was always my ultimate goal to be an entrepreneur.
Please tell me about the most challenging project that you have encountered through the years.
JA: One of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on was a residential Koi Pond in Manhattan. Beyond the logistical difficulties involved in working in New York City, installing a pond on the roof of a multimillion-dollar townhouse is quite different than the typical backyard pond. All the mechanical elements were located six stories below the pond, so it posed an engineering challenge as well. Despite the adversity, the pond came out perfectly.
After all these years, what continues to inspire you? What fires the creation or inspiration for a new challenge?
JA: I am inspired by excellence. My goal has always been to be the best in the field. You will frequently hear me say, “If you’re going to do something, do it once and do it right.” Every new project is an opportunity to turn my client’s vision into a reality beyond their expectations. The challenge of achieving this goal is what keeps my work rewarding.
Let’s close out this visit with a story about the creative process and collaborative aspects of working with a client.
JA: I worked on a large project last season with a client who did not believe in engineered drawings or any type of plans. They emphasized the importance of environmental sustainability, and wanted me to create a pond that looked as though it has been there for 100 years. As someone who is used to a regimented process of brainstorming, plan preparation, revisions, and finally, installation, this was quite different for me. Instead of coming up with an architectural design, I took from the client’s memories of camping upstate as a child. I was able to mimic the shoreline of the pond, and recreate similar aquatic plantings and fauna. It was a genuine collaborative process that showed me how important it is to truly listen closely to what your client is saying.
John Artarian is one of the many fine craftsmen that lives and works in our area. His clients appreciate his attention to detail and rave about his work. It’s an honor for me to be entrusted to improve someone’s home John is someone who feels the same way.