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Making a Splash with Outdoor Lighting: Past, Present, and Future



Making a Splash with Outdoor Lighting: Past, Present, and Future

Once upon a time, pool lighting was… well, not so exciting. White lights, while warm and inviting, used to be the only option for curating a welcoming nighttime oasis. The pool industry has come a long way! 

In the beginning…

To understand this evolution, one must look back at the history of lighting in general. Our story begins in 1879 when Thomas Edison created an incandescent bulb that was practical and reliable enough to illuminate homes. The world was forever changed by this innovation, and other big-thinking inventors were inspired by the possibilities lighting offered. As tinkering was underway, new inventions began dazzling the public: arc lamps, oscillating lights, and even Christmas light strings were soon unveiled. 

The American public, while still lighting many trees with candles, were awe-struck by this innovation. Lights brought a new warmth to homes across the nation, including the White House. In the 1890s, President Grover Cleveland decorated his holiday tree with multi-colored string lights. An awe-struck public watched in amazement as the possibilities of a colorful future sat in plain sight. The Edison Illuminating Company produced the first example of this dazzling multi-colored light show, but each light string had to be wired by hand. As a result, light strings were rather pricey for the everyday consumer.

Nonetheless, this largely forgotten moment in history inched us toward a more colorful future, both inside and outside the home. In the 1920s, the Jazz Age was underway, and a flair for the extravagant became en vogue. It was at this time that Albert Sadacca and his brothers set out to make colored lights more widely available, and the public was downright dazzled by this colorful experience that could be introduced to their own homes.

Diving into well-lit pools. 

While innovations in lighting were transforming the world as we knew it, the young pool industry was also taking notice. Like lights, American pools were still a fairly young innovation in the early 20th century. Though Roman pools and natural hot springs had long entertained Europeans, American pools had only started popping up on the East Coast in the 1880s. Those early pools were a hit, and the ensuing century would introduce new swimsuit fashions that made swimming even more enjoyable.

At the height of the Jazz Age, a man by the name of Wesley Bintz began introducing public pools to the Midwest. In the following decade, wet-niche pool lights were introduced, and swimmers everywhere were dazzled by well-lit oases. 

Pool lights continued to evolve over the next few decades, becoming better at distributing illumination underwater, maintaining a cool temperature for lightbulbs, and embracing new innovations like fiberoptic lighting. A burgeoning industry was underway, and the concept of the American Dream grew to include a well-lit, welcoming pool. After all, the white picket fence alone wasn’t enough to create a backyard paradise!

Wading into a colorful future. 

Of course, the public had already demonstrated a fascination with colored lighting, as it had long been a staple inside homes. Naturally, the next step in the evolution of colored lights was infusing them into outdoor spaces like pools.

Colored lights enabled pool owners to curate a specific mood at their pool, enhancing holiday celebrations and pool parties in a magical way. 

Transforming lighting into a light show.

While colored lighting transformed the pool industry as we know it, the era of innovation wasn’t (and still isn’t) quite over. Creative minds around the world were already pushing the boundaries of innovation, but automation further changed pool lighting as we know it. 

Automation allows pool owners to connect equipment like pool pumps, water features, and – you guessed it – lighting in one easy-to-manage control center. In the smartphone era, connected apps like the Pentair Home and IntelliCenter2 app make pool automation as simple as the tap of a finger. Turning on and off pool features and setting schedules is made simple with an automation system. Plus, with automation or the Color Sync™ Controller for Pentair Color LED Lights in your pool toolkit, it’s easy to create an awe-inducing light show.

What is a light show, you ask? Instead of sitting with just one color, light shows cycle through several different colors to create a visually striking scene. Imagine painting your pool in hues of sunset magenta and yellow or creating a Caribbean ambiance with blue and green! Pool owners with colored lights can attest to the majesty of a rainbow-hued backyard oasis. 

Another pillar of the modern pool industry is a trend toward sustainable solutions, and pool lights haven’t been forgotten in this wave of energy efficiency. With the incorporation of LED lighting solutions, homeowners can enjoy colorful outdoor paradises that won’t break the bank. And the best part? With each new generation of lighting, technology and energy efficiency improves.

The shift from incandescent to LED lighting.

Over the last few decades, LED lighting has been replacing older, less energy-efficient incandescent lights. This recent lighting evolution wave has been, in part, due to regulatory pressures from the Department of Energy which has banned certain types of low-efficiency incandescent lights from being sold in the market.

In the pool industry, advancements from incandescent to LED lighting took place in the mid-to-late 2000s. Pentair began utilizing LED technology in backyard poolscapes with its first LED IntelliBrite large niche light in 2007. After tweaking and improving the design of that initial LED product, Pentair came out with the IntelliBrite® 5G Color and White LED Pool Light, which has been illuminating backyard paradises across the country for over a decade.  Now, Pentair will be introducing a new and improved LED lighting product with upgraded optics, power supply, and more.  

What makes LED lighting that much better than incandescents? To understand why and how LED lights are more energy efficient than incandescent lighting, let’s take a deeper dive into the physics behind the light. An LED (which stands for light-emitting diode) is one type of semiconductor that converts electricity directly to light at a more efficient rate than incandescent lights, which actually burns a filament (the wire or thread in a light bulb) to produce light. For every watt of electricity, an LED produces much more light than heat compared to an incandescent, which is why you can change an LED light bulb while lit up – you can’t always do that with an incandescent bulb without burning your fingers. 

Many of the energy efficiency and lighting differences between LED and incandescent lights stem from the use of optics – a lens or a reflector that changes the direction of the light beam. Optics direct the light to where it’s needed most. In an incandescent light, the light is directed omnidirectionally, meaning in three axes at 360 degrees. However, in an LED light, optics maximize the use of light by directing the photons only where the light is needed, which makes LED lighting that much more efficient.  

Looking toward the future…

From the humble beginnings of lighting to its transformative days in early American pools, underwater lighting has come a long way. However, a trend toward sustainability and energy efficiency clues us in on what the future holds for the pool industry. There’s more innovation underway every day, and each new product unveiling has the potential to dazzle the industry just as the very first colored lights did. 

If you’re ready to illuminate the pool possibilities at your customers’ homes, dive into the details of Pentair lighting at

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As an industry leader in the pool and spa space, Pentair is dedicated to elevating the pool experience to the next level with connected, efficient, and quality products so people can soak in the magical, wonder-filled moments by their pool, giving them time – and peace of mind – to create them. Pentair's pool solutions are engineered to filter, clean and sanitize water, while automation equipment makes it easy to control from anywhere. For more information, visit

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This Pool Was Designed Specifically For a Lamborghini



In the realm of opulence and architectural innovation, a unique project has emerged, blending the world of high-end automobiles with the tranquility of a residential swimming pool. Nestled in the waterfront properties of South Florida, a cutting-edge pool, dubbed the “Lambo Pool,” has been crafted to showcase a homeowner’s Lamborghini in a mesmerizing aquatic display. This extraordinary venture was a collaboration between Foxterra Design, Custom Pool Systems, and Jonny Nalepa, a distinguished pool professional and aquatics engineer from Smart Aquatics.

A consultant on projects throughout the Sunshine state, Nalepa’s burgeoning firm Smart Aquatics recently had the opportunity to collaborate on numerous high profile projects, the latest was completed several months ago and has already begun turning heads.

Swimming Pool Built to Showcase a $250K Lamborghini

“The Lambo Pool” project, as Jonny Nalepa affectionately calls it, was brought to life through the vision of entrepreneur Alex Moeller, a passionate car enthusiast and homeowner in Davie, Florida. Moeller’s desire was to seamlessly integrate his prized Lamborghini Aventador SVJ into his backyard, an idea that prompted him to engage the expertise of Foxterra Design.

Foxterra Design, led by the innovative duo Justin and Nate, known for their wild and incredible designs, took on the challenge of creating a pool that would not only house the luxurious vehicle but also serve as a breathtaking water feature. The project was further brought to fruition by Custom Pool Systems, the builders responsible for transforming the conceptual design into a tangible reality.

Jonny Nalepa, in his role as a consultant, played a crucial part in transposing Foxterra Design’s conceptual renderings into a working set of construction drawings that Custom Pool Systems used to physically build the pool. With the Lamborghini being a high-value asset, Nalepa and his team took meticulous steps to prevent any potential damage. This involved extensive research, including reaching out to Lamborghini to obtain precise measurements and specifications for the vehicle.

Technical Challenges Bringing The Project To Fruition

“With a vehicle that’s probably over $250,000, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t damage the car by making the water too deep or when the car is driving over the perimeter overflow there,” said Nalepa, “I mean, there’s a slot with a gutter underneath, so we have a cantilevered condition. We got to make sure this thing’s going to work right.”

“This one happened to be on a grass edge, but we also had to make sure that we could support the vehicle going over this perimeter overflow as many times as the client wanted to move it, ” explained Nalepa.

“We took Foxterra’s design and we developed it to make sure that we met all the setbacks and the codes and everything for Miami. We did our due diligence and were pretty thorough. We looked up the actual model, make and model of the vehicle. We measured the height of it. We measured the width of the wheels, because there are some bubblers in that area where the car is parked. So we don’t want the car to drive over the bubblers, or at the very least, if the car does drive over them, we don’t want them to crack because most pool fixtures are plastic,” said Nalepa.

Going The Extra Mile To Research

In his detailed explanation, Nalepa mentioned, “We contacted Lamborghini, and we got all the specifications. We confirmed what the max slope was. The car can go up and down and left and right. And we wanted to make sure that we had enough water to overflow this feature so that you could visually see that it’s a water feature.”

“We had to modify what our typical perimeter overflow detail is,” explained Nalepa, “there’s a gutter beneath, in this case, a stainless steel overhang. It’s like an L bracket almost that overhangs a gutter and comes almost right up against the pool structure. So all you see is a little strip, but in the area where the car goes over, we didn’t want to have a full overhang of six or eight inches.”

“The car is pretty heavy, and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Nalepa, “someone could park it and stop. The back wheels could be sitting on that overhang, so we had to account for that and beef up the structure on that side.”

Thinking Around Corners

The way this was done is pretty ingenious, according to Nalepa. “We removed the drop piping from that entry area and wanted to make sure that the structure was robust enough so we got rid of all the PVC plumbing that goes in a typical perimeter overflow edge condition. Doing it that way we could increase the structural integrity of the concrete. We kind of made it a minimal gutter where the overhang is only a few inches.”

“We went through a couple of different iterations, by the way, before we landed on that one. In the end, it’s kind of a simple solution to achieve the look Foxterra was going for,” said Nalepa.

Despite the difficult technical challenges, the Lambo Pool was a resounding success. Nalepa expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We were excited to work on this project, but it was definitely a challenging one.”

“Lambo Pool” Collaboration Rolled Out a Winner

One of the standout moments for Nalepa was the opportunity to drive the Lamborghini onto the feature, a surreal experience for any car enthusiast. Reflecting on the uniqueness of the project, he remarked, “It’s so far out of something that you can dream up, the fact that Foxterra was like, ‘Let’s put it in the pool.’ Most people may have just parked it next to the pool or something like that, but they went for it.”

Custom Pool Systems also knocked it out of the park on this project. “The perimeter overflow is impressive. There are no dry spots. They did an incredible job executing and building this project. There’s a level of craftsmanship that you can see a mile away. It looks and feels expensive and that’s through material selections and just the way the mitered edges are and devils in the details kinds of things,” said Nalepa.

The Lambo Pool stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of talented professionals in the fields of design, construction, and aquatics engineering. It exemplifies the intersection of luxury, creativity, and meticulous planning, resulting in a truly extraordinary fusion of automotive and aquatic excellence.

Want to learn more about the Lamborghini Pool? Listen to our entire conversation with Jonny Nalepa on the Pool Magazine podcast.

Photo / Video Credits: Jimi Smith Photography
Designer: Foxterra Design
Builder: Custom Pool Systems
Aquatics Engineering: Smart Aquatics

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Pool Inspiration: Villa 95’s Z-Shaped Oasis

Pool inspiration achieved. The Z-shaped geometry of this design concept provides the perfect canvas for the ultimate luxury at-home oasis.



Pool Inspiration: Villa 95's Z-Shaped Oasis

Looking for pool inspiration? The enchanting landscape of Cádiz, Spain is the perfect backdrop for Villa 95, emerging as a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. The unique pool and outdoor living design is captivating professionals with its exquisite aesthetic. Crafted by the visionary team at Fran Silvestre Arquitectos, this unique design showcases the seamless integration of modern living with the surrounding natural beauty.

The inspiring essence of Villa 95 lies in its expressive Z-shaped three-story structure, a continuous movement that beckons residents to embark on a journey of exploration through its various rooms. The unique zig-zag design is eloquently summarized by the architects themselves, stating, “The expressive nature of this three-story house is designed in a continuous movement that suggests, between its different rooms, a walkway from where to explore the landscape that expands in front of it.”

Zig Zag Design

One of the most distinctive features of Villa 95 is its exterior morphology, strategically arranged to maximize the utilization of its plot. The architectural elements, resembling a long diagonal arrangement, appear to connect only at their vertexes. However, within this seemingly disjointed exterior lies an intricate internal network of interconnected spaces, fostering constant communication between different parts of the residence.

CPO Class - Virtual Online Classes - Become a Certified Pool Operator

The upper floor of Villa 95 unfolds to reveal a sprawling balcony, serving as both the roof of the middle section and an expansive vantage point. The limits of this elevated space extend in two directions, reaching outwards to embrace the lure of a smartly appointed outdoor living area and stretching inwards to the confines of the plot, seamlessly blending with the upper level of the house.

What sets Villa 95 apart is its tertiary configuration and the uninterrupted succession of spaces, inviting the observer to follow the playful figure that defines its shape. This almost whimsical yet sophisticated geometry not only creates a visually captivating aesthetic but also establishes the distinct identity of the house.

Juxtaposing Pools

6 Reasons Why This Pool Design Is Inspiring

1. Aesthetic Harmony with Landscape:

Villa 95’s design seamlessly integrates with the surrounding landscape of Cádiz. The pools, strategically positioned to overlook different parts of the property, contribute to the aesthetic harmony between the built environment and the natural surroundings.

2. Innovative Use of Elevation:

The placement of the vanishing edge pools at different juxtaposing elevations is a stroke of genius. This not only adds an element of drama and visual interest but also showcases a keen understanding of topography. We’re inspired by the elevation play, as it challenges the conventional flat pool design, demonstrating how thoughtful consideration of different levels can elevate the overall pool experience.

3. Architectural Integration:

Villa 95’s Z-shape geometry and the integration of multiple pools within the structure are a showcase of the successful fusion of architecture and aquatic design. It’s inspiring to see architects treat pools not just as mere accessories but as integral components of the overall design. This approach encourages them to think beyond the pool as a standalone feature and consider it as an integral part of the larger architectural canvas.

4. Spatial Flow and Connectivity:

The uninterrupted succession of spaces and the continuous movement of the design create a sense of spatial flow. It’s easy to appreciate the interconnectedness of the different areas, as it suggests a holistic approach to outdoor living. Today’s leading designers are exploring methods that promote connectivity between various poolside spaces and the broader architectural context, this project is a perfect example of how this has come into play.

Modern Indoor Pool Design

5. Distinctive Identity:

Villa 95’s playful yet sophisticated geometry gives the property a distinctive identity. The inspired design showcased how pools located throughout the entire property can contribute significantly to the overall character of a residence. This design concept truly embraces the concept of making the entire home an oasis.

6. Luxurious Panoramic Views:

The strategic placement of the vanishing edge pools offer breathtaking panoramic views of the landscape. Today’s homeowners are drawn to the idea of swimming pools that not only serve as recreational spaces but also as vantage points, providing residents with a luxurious visual experience. This focus on the overall experience inspires one to consider pools as immersive elements within the broader living environment.

Photo Credits: Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

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12 Modern Pool Designs That Will Take Your Breath Away

We take a look at 12 incredible modern pool designs and discuss the future of designing swimming pools for residential and commercial spaces.



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.

Como Laucala Island - Fiji
Photo Credit: Laucala Island

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.

Modern pool design - Photo Credit: Alila Hotels and Resorts
Photo Credit: Alila Hotels and Resorts

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.

Modern pool designs - Photo Credit: Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Photo Credit: Preferred Hotels & Resorts

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.

Modern Swimming Pool - Photo Credit: Playa Vik Jose Ignacio
Photo Credit: Playa Vik Jose Ignacio

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.

Skypool Dubai
Photo Credit: Aura Skypool Dubai

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.

Aura Skypool Dubai
Photo Credit: Aura Skypool Dubai

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.

Modern pool - Photo Credit: Shangri-La, The Shard, London, UK
Photo Credit: Shangri-La, The Shard, London, UK

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.

Modern residential pool design - Photo Credit: Fillippo Bamberghi
Photo Credit: Fillippo Bamberghi

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.

Modern residential pool - Photo Credit: Juan Solano
Photo Credit: Juan Solano

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.

Modern Pool Designs That Will Inspire You - Photo Credit: Christopher Nolasco
Photo Credit: Cristopher Nolasco

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.

Modern residential pool design in Miami Beach
Photo Credit: Oriol Tarrida

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.

Modern Pool Designs - Photo Credit: Jan Bitter
Photo Credit: Jan Bitter

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.

Modern Pool Design by Barnes Coy Architecture
Photo Credit: Barnes Coy Architecture

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Designer creating a modern and contemporary swimming pool design.

Technological Advancements

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.

Multi-Functional Spaces

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.

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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.

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