Take a walk down Seven Mile Beach and you’ll see the scenery is changing.
Indeed, look into the azure water and you’ll see revolutionary pieces of furniture that are unique here in Cayman. One of those is a floating, four-man table and chair set called the Acqua Lounge.
They’re the brainchild of Caymanian inventor Shervin Rankin, who was a corporate officer at Deutsche Bank for eight years and also ran a tour business.
Complete with the additional ‘c’ in the name added for trademark reasons, the Acqua Lounges are made from water resistant PVC, Styrofoam and fibreglass and feature four shaded chairs around a central table, which can feature depressed areas to hold drinks or in the case of first client, Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, food trays.
Having seen a similar product meant for use only in a swimming pool, Rankin thought he could make something more practical.
“I started building for a year, a year and a half, just experimenting [with designs]… it can be something real good because it’s something that hotels, beach bars and lakes can use. The good thing as well is that you can leave it anchored like a boat and can leave it there for months at a time [except in extreme weather]. “
The inventor originally conceived of the idea while researching the feasibility of an all-inclusive recreational park centred around a boat with fold-out seating.
“But I scratched the whole boat idea, which was going to take a lot of time and effort because this is something I can potentially sell not just locally, but hopefully worldwide.”
Mr. Rankin has been commissioned by the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and Grand Cayman Beach Suites to provide the product for those properties.
All manufacturing is currently done locally, and each unit takes two to three weeks depending on manpower, with a vision to mass-produce the Acqua Lounges in the future.
Melissa Ladley of the Ritz-Carlton said Mr. Rankin’s products have proved popular.
“We knew that guests were going to love these because they come back year after year and they always want to know what’s new. Guests spend 70 per cent of their time on the beach and how to make a beach ‘new’ is not something that a lot of people have figured out and that’s why this is so innovative.“We like this because it’s distinguishing the Island, not just for Ritz-Carlton guests.”
Other creations by Mr. Rankin include personal cabanas on the beach featuring a double bed, cooler, snacks and iPod, plus a floating bed, also anchored to the shore.
The inventor is working on “five or six” new ideas, he revealed.