Swimming pools have come a long way from their humble beginnings as basic rectangular structures. Today, they are a symbol of luxury, relaxation, and architectural innovation. Modern swimming pool designs not only serve as refreshing retreats but also as eye-catching focal points in resorts, hotels, and commercial spaces. Later in this article, we will explore the evolution of swimming pool designs, the features and amenities that define them, and how they contribute to creating tranquility in outdoor living spaces. But first, let’s take a look at some incredible contemporary examples that emote a sense of the modern and sophisticated look many pool designers strive for today.
These Modern Pool Designs Will Inspire You
Hotels, Resorts, Commercial Spaces
Como Laucala Island – Fiji
Nestled on the exclusive private island of Como Laucala in Fiji, the 25 villas are dispersed across the sandy shores, hilltops, and crystal-clear waters. Each villa serves as a secluded haven, adorned with furnishings crafted from natural rattan, thatch, and wood, complemented by individual private swimming pools. While every villa promises unparalleled luxury, it’s the resort’s 82-foot lap pool that emerges as a tempting allure for guests seeking a communal yet indulgent aquatic experience.
Stretching elegantly in a long and linear fashion, the raised lap pool boasts a distinctive feature—a glass wall at one end that unveils panoramic vistas of lush greenery within the resort grounds and the expansive ocean beyond. This captivating aquatic centerpiece is surrounded by daybeds, inviting cabanas, and a stylish pool bar offering island-inspired cocktails and refreshing, health-conscious juices. The setup is irresistibly inviting, encouraging guests to immerse themselves in the scenic beauty and indulge in leisurely moments that extend throughout the day.
Alila Villas Koh Russey, Cambodia
Unveiled in November 2018, the contemporary Alila Villas Koh Russey situated on Russey Island within the Koh Rong archipelago can be reached by a brief 10-minute boat journey from Cambodia’s southern coast. Crafted by Singaporean architect Chioh-Hui Goh of Studiogoto, the resort’s design draws inspiration from the intricate grid-like Cambodian Krama pattern. The 98-foot-long pool structure is a visual homage to the geometric layout found in the renowned Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat, effectively merging two of Cambodia’s cultural symbols. Constructed with two distinct hues of local Cambodian stones, the pool not only reflects the 3D grid pattern but also adds a distinct touch to the overall design.
7132, Vals, Switzerland
Nestled at the entrance of the charming village of Vals in Switzerland’s Grisons Alps, the 7132 Hotel, affiliated with the Preferred Hotels & Resorts network, stands as a testament to the area’s natural beauty. Renowned architect Peter Zumthor, acclaimed for his award-winning design of the new spa complex, elevated the hotel’s status by showcasing its legendary thermal springs, known for their highly mineralized water. Constructed from raw concrete and meticulously assembled with 60,000 slabs of local quartzite stone, the monolithic structure pays homage to Vals through its architectural prowess. Designed with strategic openings, the spa complex accentuates the panoramic views of the sweeping valleys, enhancing the overall experience for guests. Peter Zumthor’s visionary work on the 7132 Hotel has solidified its place as a masterpiece in the heart of the Grisons Alps.
Playa Vik Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Perched dramatically on the coastal cliffs, this cantilevered pool is a striking feature of Playa Vik Jose Ignacio, located 93 miles from Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. Unveiled in 2009, this boutique beach house retreat is a haven for art enthusiasts, with its focal point being a soaring, swimmable sculpture meticulously crafted by Carrie and Alex Vik in collaboration with Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott.
The 75-foot cantilevered pool, constructed from Uruguayan black Absolute Nero granite, extends boldly beyond the terrace, seemingly defying gravity as it hovers 32 feet above the sandy beach below. Not merely a pool, it doubles as a celestial canvas, boasting a fiber-optic light map of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky. This mesmerizing feature is achieved through small optic light points embedded within the pool floor, creating a celestial spectacle as guests swim beneath the stars. Playa Vik Jose Ignacio’s cantilevered pool is a masterful blend of artistry, architecture, and nature, offering a unique and immersive experience in this coastal paradise.
Aura Skypool – Dubai
Perched 688 feet above the vibrant cityscape of Dubai, the Aura Sky Pool is a luxurious oasis that beckons those seeking a celestial escape amidst the clouds. Perched atop the Palm Tower skyscraper within the Jumeirah archipelago, the Aura Skypool is a two-story masterpiece, meticulously crafted to resemble an ethereal island suspended in the sky. Embraced by a sculptural wall evoking the essence of natural rock formations, adorned with verdant greenery, and complemented by subtle wood accents, this elevated oasis redefines the concept of a poolside escape.
As the sun casts its golden hues over the iconic Dubai skyline, the Aura Skypool offers an unrivaled panorama of architectural marvels, glistening waters, and the vast expanse of the desert beyond. The pool’s design seamlessly merges with the modern aesthetic of the city, featuring sleek edges and a minimalist aesthetic that accentuates the surrounding urban brilliance.
The Aura Skypool is not merely a recreational space; it’s an experience. Surrounded by chic lounging areas, cabanas, and stylish furnishings, the pool area transforms into a glamorous setting for relaxation and socializing. The crystal-clear waters seemingly merge with the horizon, creating an illusion of boundless space and adding a touch of magic to the overall ambiance.
Shangri-La, The Shard, London, UK
Occupying the 34th to 52nd floors of Renzo Piano’s iconic structure, Shangri-La’s inaugural property in the UK is housed within this architectural marvel. Anchored on the 52nd floor, the Infinity Skypool claims the title of Western Europe’s highest pool and shares its lofty domain with the chic GONG cocktail bar—the pinnacle of London’s elevated watering holes.
Conceptualized by the Hong Kong-based interior designer Andre Fu, the mastermind behind the GONG bar, the pool and its adjoining bar exude an atmosphere of sophistication with a minimalist palette of beige and gold. The expansive windows offer captivating views of the city, providing an immersive backdrop to this elevated oasis.
Designed to be a tranquil escape for guests, the 11 x 4-meter heated Infinity Skypool faces west, treating swimmers to breathtaking panoramas of St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, and Westminster. This aquatic haven, with its serene ambiance and iconic vistas, is poised to redefine the concept of elevated luxury within the heart of London’s skyline.
Modern Residential Pool Designs
Bel Air, CA – Paul McClean
Situated gracefully in the esteemed Bel Air neighborhood, this extraordinary residence, envisioned by the acclaimed architect Paul McClean, offers a perfect fusion of urban panoramas and secluded serenity. Surrounded by lush vegetation, the home imparts a profound sense of privacy and calm, providing an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Distinguished by its design, the rear of the house is encased in glass, affording breathtaking views of the pool and the picturesque landscape from every room. Recently hitting the market with an impressive $41 million price tag, this architectural marvel beckons discerning buyers to experience the pinnacle of luxurious living.
Lima, Peru, V.Oid Architecture
In the picturesque landscape of Lima, Peru, V.Oid Architecture has brought forth a striking summer house that ingeniously embraces the natural contours of the terrain. Capturing the essence of innovative design, this architectural gem unveils a mind-blowing pool, where concrete walls emerge organically from the earth, creating a visual marvel. Adding to the allure, a dramatic glass panel at the pool’s end transforms the aquatic experience into an extraordinary journey of aesthetic immersion.
Bazil – Fernanda Marques Arquitetos Associados
Crafted by Fernanda Marques Arquitetos Associados, this awe-inspiring design in Brazil fulfills a unique client request—a swimming pool inside the apartment. Encased in glass, the pool not only becomes a striking focal point but also provides abundant entertainment for those within the double-height living room.
Miami Beach – Doo Architecture
In the heart of Miami Beach, the villa designed by Doo Architecture showcases a sophisticated infinity swimming pool adorned with a seamless black stone perimeter. The rear of the house effortlessly unfolds onto the adjoining patio, creating a seamless transition that merges with the contemporary allure of the pool.
Jellyfish House – Wiel Aret
Wiel Arets’ Jellyfish House boasts an exceptional feature—an avant-garde, cantilevered rooftop pool with a captivating glass bottom. The pool’s azure waters form a striking contrast against the pristine white monolithic design of the house, offering a dreamy and ever-evolving spectacle. Whether viewed from the outdoor patio or the kitchen within, the swimming pool becomes a mesmerizing centerpiece, blending artful design with aquatic allure.
Wainscott, NY – Barnes Coy
For a cool $45 million last year, ownership of this oceanfront residence by Barnes Coy in Wainscott, New York could have been yours. The rear of the home boasts a 22-foot-high glass wall, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the water. Adjacent to this feature is an expansive outdoor area, featuring an angular swimming pool with a distinctive Lautner edge. If the residence seems familiar, it’s because it made an appearance in an episode of HBO’s Succession.
Today’s Modern Swimming Pool
The history of swimming pools dates back thousands of years, with early examples found in ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that swimming pools became more common in Western society. The growth of leisure time and the emergence of the middle class led to the popularity of private swimming pools.
Today’s modern swimming pools are characterized by a variety of features and amenities that go beyond their basic function. Infinity edges, waterfalls, underwater lighting, and unique shapes are just a few examples. These features not only enhance the visual appeal but also contribute to a sensory experience for those enjoying the pool.
Principles of Modern Pool Design
Several principles guide the design of modern swimming pools, ensuring they align with contemporary aesthetics and functionality:
- Integration with Surroundings: Modern pools are designed to seamlessly blend with their surroundings, whether it’s a natural landscape or an urban setting. This integration enhances the overall visual appeal and creates a harmonious environment.
- Customization and Innovation: Designers are pushing boundaries with innovative shapes, materials, and features. Customization is key, as pools are tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of the space they occupy.
- Sustainability: Environmental consciousness has influenced modern pool design, leading to the implementation of sustainable features such as energy-efficient pumps, solar heating, and water-saving technologies.
- Technology Integration: Automation and smart technology play a significant role in modern pool design. Remote control systems, LED lighting, and advanced filtration systems contribute to ease of maintenance and enhance the user experience.
- Wellness Focus: Pools are increasingly designed with health and wellness in mind. Features like swim jets, resistance currents, and designated areas for water aerobics contribute to a holistic approach to fitness.
The Evolution of the Modern Pool in Residential Outdoor Living Spaces
The traditional rectangular pool, once a staple in residential backyards, has given way to a myriad of contemporary shapes and designs. Homeowners and designers are embracing freeform pools, kidney-shaped designs, and even infinity edges that create a seamless visual connection with the surrounding landscape. This departure from conventional shapes adds an artistic flair to the backyard and enhances the overall aesthetics of the space.
Modern pool design goes beyond the pool itself, emphasizing the integration of the pool area with outdoor living spaces. Patios, decks, and lounge areas are strategically incorporated to create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living. The result is a cohesive and inviting environment that encourages socializing, relaxation, and entertainment.
Water features have become a hallmark of modern pool designs, introducing elements like cascading waterfalls, bubbling fountains, and elegant water spouts. These features not only enhance the visual appeal but also contribute to a soothing auditory experience. Additionally, technological advancements have brought innovations such as smart pool systems, LED lighting, and energy-efficient filtration, making pool maintenance more convenient and environmentally friendly.
Materials and Finishes
Gone are the days when pools were limited to basic blue tiles. Modern pool design places a strong emphasis on materials and finishes that complement the overall aesthetic of the home. Glass tiles, natural stone, and mosaic patterns are popular choices, adding texture and depth to the pool’s visual appeal. The pool’s surroundings are also carefully curated, with options ranging from lush landscaping to sleek, minimalist finishes.
Wellness and Fitness Focus
As health and wellness take center stage in contemporary living, modern pool designs often incorporate features catering to fitness and relaxation. Swim jets, resistance currents, and spa-like elements provide homeowners with opportunities for both exercise and rejuvenation, turning the backyard pool into a multifunctional space for well-being.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Designs
With a growing emphasis on sustainability, modern pool designs often integrate eco-friendly features. Saltwater systems, solar heating, and energy-efficient pumps contribute to a reduced environmental footprint, aligning the pool with the principles of responsible living.
Rethinking Resorts, Hotels, and Commercial Spaces
Commercial spaces, particularly hotels and resorts, have witnessed a transformative journey in the realm of modern pool designs. What was once a simple amenity has evolved into a focal point of architectural innovation, offering guests not only a refreshing dip but an immersive and visually stunning experience. In this article, we’ll dive into the evolution of modern pool design in commercial applications and explore how this evolution has permeated various water features in these spaces.
Architectural Integration and Ambiance
Modern hotels and resorts have shifted from treating pools as mere functional components to integral elements of the overall architectural design. Pools are now seamlessly integrated into the landscape, often reflecting the natural surroundings. Infinity pools that appear to merge with the horizon, rooftop pools with panoramic city views, and pools with unique shapes are all examples of how architects are using these aquatic features to enhance the ambiance and overall aesthetic of commercial spaces.
Artistic Elements and Unique Shapes
The demand for visually striking and unique designs has given rise to pools that double as works of art. Commercial spaces are increasingly incorporating pools with intricate mosaic designs, artistic tiling, and even sculptures that serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. Unique shapes, such as irregular geometries and freeform designs, are becoming more prevalent, adding an element of surprise and sophistication to the overall pool experience.
Modern pool designs in commercial settings often go beyond traditional swimming areas. They are now part of multi-functional spaces that include lounging areas, cabanas, and even outdoor dining zones. These versatile spaces cater to diverse guest preferences, providing areas for relaxation, socializing, and recreation. The poolside is no longer just about swimming; it’s a destination within the destination.
Innovative Water Features
The evolution of pool design in commercial spaces has led to a proliferation of innovative water features. Waterfalls, fountains, and interactive jets have become commonplace, creating a multisensory experience for guests. Some resorts even incorporate musical or choreographed water shows, elevating the entertainment value of the pool area.
The Future of Modern Pool Design
The evolution of modern pool designs has transcended the conventional boundaries of functionality, transforming these aquatic spaces into integral elements of contemporary living. Whether gracing the rooftops of urban skyscrapers, nestled in lush landscapes, or adorning the private sanctuaries of upscale homes, modern pools have become more than just recreational amenities—they are immersive experiences that harmonize with the surrounding environment.
As we continue to witness the convergence of architectural innovation, sustainability practices, and wellness-focused designs, the future promises even more exciting developments in the realm of pool design. From smart technologies and eco-friendly features to imaginative shapes and multi-functional spaces, the journey of modern pool design remains a dynamic exploration of form, function, and aesthetic appeal.
As homeowners, architects, and designers embark on this aquatic adventure, the contemporary pool stands not just as a symbol of luxury but as a testament to the ever-evolving synergy between human ingenuity and the natural world. Whether reflecting the skyline of a bustling city or mirroring the tranquility of a secluded retreat, modern pools have become canvases where lifestyle aspirations and design creativity converge, leaving an indelible mark on the landscapes of our leisure and architectural experiences. So, as we dive into the future, let the ripples of modern pool design continue to inspire, captivate, and redefine the essence of aquatic living.