The soothing presence of water makes a pool a must-have for a villa in a warm climate. We show off our best pool and terrace designs.
Article by Vivion O’Kelly
A swimming pool in a house is an ancient tradition in Southern Spain. They didn’t call it that, of course, because they did not swim in it, but well-to-do homeowners in Moorish times were well aware of both the psychological and physical effects of water in a courtyard. The shape, size and purpose of this body of water may have changed, but the spiritual and practical benefits are just as important in our day as they were then. A villa without a pool on the Costa del Sol is unworthy of the name.
We have featured dozens of villas on this blog, and all of them have pools. All are different, in line with our philosophy that every aspect of every villa we design should be individual, and every part of every home should be as unique as the home itself. Each of our pools is an essential element within the whole, and is designed as such, and all of our pools are situated close to the social centre of the villa which, as in most warm climates, is the principal terraced area, usually to the front of the house overlooking the best views. This makes true infinity pools especially important to us. We take a closer look below at seven of them.
The Alcuzcuz Pool
The long rectangular band of water that one sees looking straight into the formal lounge of this magnificent villa would, at first sight, appear to be one more design element in an architectural structure that is mostly horizontal lines, broken in the middle by the vertical lines of the high-ceilinged lounge. The front wall of the pool is glass, making for a minimalist three-dimensional effect.
On closer inspection, one sees wide steps leading directly into the pool from the lounge, forming an integral part of this area. One also notices a total of five different lounge areas surrounding three sides of the pool, while the two large upper-level terraces become part of what is, in effect, a huge leisure zone occupying the entire built area of this side of the villa.
The Roof Terrace Pool
Spectacular pools do not have to be located in villas on mountains overlooking the sea: they can also be built a few floors up in a town, as was the case of this beautiful roof terrace we designed in Marbella, and its infinity pool still overlooks the Mediterranean.
The pool is relatively shallow, more for splashing and cooling down in than for serious swimming, but what makes it truly extraordinary is its two-sided infinity design and its location on an equally extraordinary roof terrace. Surrounded by leisure and dining areas, this is a pool anybody can have and enjoy, while still living in an urban area.
The Dual Pool
Jewel might be another way to put it, because this is indeed a jewel of a swimming pool in the villa we named House of Beauty. Two swimming pools, to be inexact about it, in that it could better be described as a single split-level pool, given that the same water cascades from the top down below, creating, however we look at it, a swimming pool quite unlike anything we have ever seen before. The upper pool (behind the horizontal white wall) can be accessed from the transparent lounge area in the centre of the villa, while the lower pool is more traditionally accessed from the main garden terrace.
Palm trees on both sides frame the lower pool, also creating the impression of an avenue to welcome us in. The entertainment, gymnasium and spa rooms are on the same level as the lower pool, allowing passage to and from the pool without having to go through the house.
The Island Villa Pool
As we can see, not all pools are large holes in the ground. This villa in Ibiza, while not as large as some we have designed on the Costa del Sol, has a terrace that is second to none in both space and design, and a pool that is an excellent example of total architectural harmony. Our initial impression is of an expansive living and leisure area of which the pool is an essential part; so much so, in fact, that one of the walls of the sunken chill-out area to the forefront of the picture below (above) is the glass wall of the swimming pool. The seating areas behind jut out into the pool, drawing it into the house itself. Pool design at this level becomes great architecture.
The Illuminated Pool
To draw attention to the illumination of a single pool may suggest that illumination is not a key element of all our pools, but this would be far from the truth. When the weather is especially warm, night-time use of the pool is part of our way of life, just as much as in the daytime. This is an example of form, function and flair in a magnificently designed pool and its surrounding terrace, all magically illuminated to make an intimate and welcoming space that could, with a little imagination, have been designed by nature itself.
The Garden Pool
The architecture and design in this home has a distinctive Japanese flavour to it, almost Zen-like. Nature was the drawing board. The giant stainless steel spheres in the pool are a playful artistic element to this pool design. The spheres are actually fountains positioned on underwater platforms that you can rest on.
Underwater LED lighting defines the outlines of the swimming pool, which can be entered from anywhere around it. The surprising element in the giant screen of water is a projector screen that drops down over it at the touch of a button, allowing one to view videos and films.
A Pool with a View
Vista Lago Residences has 18 villas each with it’s own private infinity pool with breathtaking views across each one towards the Mediterranean Sea. And like the other pools featured here, they all share the same level of creativity, good design and state-of-the-art illumination that makes them a great deal more than a place for swimming in.
They are all part of the villa itself, rather than a feature to make the garden more desirable, although they do this as well. An exceptional swimming pool, we believe, is a place of spirituality where body and soul can be recharged, and a place where all members of the family and their friends can have a great time throughout the day and into the night.