With summer in full bloom, David Nanasi and his team might be found knee-deep in a pond in a homeowner’s backyard or adding last touches to a fountain in a condominium’s entrance. His clients are most likely already enjoying one of his aqua sculpture creations.
Nanasi, 53, founded his Ville Saint-Pierre based company, Aquasculpture by Nanasi — which specializes in marine, reef and many types of fresh water displays — over three decades ago. Nanasi takes a regular garden and by building bridges, ponds, and natural seeders transforms it into a little haven. A big part of their work are fountains, whether it’s creating original ones, or restoring the pumps and lights on old ones.
His work can be seen across Montreal and its surrounding area, from Carrefour Laval’s Bellagio-style fountains to some of the décor in the Casino de Montreal restaurant. Nanasi’s clients seek his outdoor waterfalls and ponds, and indoor bubble and living walls as a way to escape the bustling city. “They want to feel like they’re in the country without having to take the one hour drive to Sainte-Agathe to get there,” Nanasi says.
He describes his work as having a good biological balance, saying that it is a blend of art and biology. Nanasi’s ultimate pleasure in what he’s been doing since the age of 21 is the reaction of his costumers. “That final smile when I walk away is worth a million dollars to me,” he says.
Nanasi also breeds fish, which he then moves into one of his finished works. In a dark, warm room in Nanasi’s aqua sculpture shop, a row of aquariums stands under blue lights. Gold fish, Japanese Koi fish, starfish, and turtles are among the tenants.
Having always loved fish and aquariums, aqua sculpture began as a hobby for Nanasi. It was his grandfather who pushed him to turn this pastime into a business and he is now able to share his passion with his clientele.
He also accumulates unwanted, used aquariums that he fixes up for the fall when biology departments need them. Nanasi puts the tank in the lab, sets it up for the children, and even donates the fish. “Because that’s what it’s all about, getting other people to enjoy it,” he says. He has always loved what he does and wants to inspire kids at a young age.
Nanasi’s career started off by decorating some of the downtown restaurants and nightclubs with bubble walls and lights. “The problem with that is, one day those places were the hottest restaurant, and the next day they were gone,” Nanasi explains. He stopped doing those jobs in the 90s and leaned more toward industrial, commercial, and residential jobs.
Nanasi now works with two of his four children, who both have found their niche in the company. Jacob, 18, likes coral reefs and breeding his starfish, says Nanasi. Ethan, 21, according to his father, enjoys the mechanics and how things work, and loves talking to people. Communication plays a great part in the business. Finding out exactly what the clients wants makes it easier to leave them satisfied with their water displays.
During the busy periods, his company also employs crews of part-time workers or subcontractors so Nanasi is no longer the only one working on everything like at the beginning of his career. But one thing he will always maintain is his personal contact.
He likes sitting down with his clients to develop their ideas in order to make their vision come to life. And when done, most are very appreciative, he says, of how Nanasi and his team keep their water systems in good shape, running well with healthy fish and plants. They give their clients a little natural haven in the city. “I’m very knowledgeable, and I like to help people along to live out their little aquatic dream.”
For more photos see the story at TheSuburban.com
For more information, visit www.aquasculpture.com/en