The Pool of the Future

Eric Herman Headshot
rendering of OVA Studios' 'Swimarium'
Courtesy OVA Studio Limited

It may very well be the most elaborate swimming pool concept ever. The “Swimarium” is the brainchild of visionary Hong Kong design group OVA Studios; it is an idea so bold, so technically advanced, it remains to be seen if one will ever be built. Yet even in concept, it might just redefine how we think of ultra-high-end environments built for swimming and aquatic recreation.

In essence, the Swimarium concept involves projecting images of marine environments through a translucent pool structure, thus offering swimmers a virtual experience of a wild aquatic environment in the comfort, convenience and safety of commercial or even residential swimming pool.

According to the OVA Studios website, “With all its boundaries made out of glass under which LED screens are broadcasting live (or recorded) imagery, you can choose your favorite diving reef amongst a selection of the best ones in the world. The Swimarium underwater cameras live feed network will provide you with a first-of-its-kind underwater entertainment experience.”

As daring as that sounds, OVA Studios’ designers increased the level of sophistication several fold by adding a number of creative elements that would provide the Swimarium experience to onlookers who wish to stay dry.

For example: hydrophones and speakers would be incorporated into the design to diffuse sound throughout the pool. Built with two stories, the pool features a dry basement-viewing platform for those who simply want to enjoy the footage without getting wet. Users would be able to choose which images they want to experience while swimming; some of those locations might include the Great Barrier Reef, the Bahamas or the Maldives.

In addition, the designers have suggested that Swimariums could also be used to experience other types of environments, like outer space. In that light, the system could be used for training astronauts, military personnel or even scientists preparing for missions in space or the depths of the ocean. It could also be used as an attraction in amusement parks in conjunction with marine exhibits and other experience-based facilities.

The proposed Swimarium design uses a modified icosahedron dome as an overhead enclosure, an architecturally stunning feature the firm says would lend it an organic feel. The pool design in its conceptual drawings is 82 feet in diameter with generous dry-side viewing areas. The unusual enclosure would be roofed with solar panels that OVA believes could generate nearly enough energy to power the facility.

“It is a design concept that we developed from scratch when we were asked by South China Morning Post to design a swimming pool ‘out of this world’ to be featured in their magazine,” explains OVA director Slimane Ouahes. “Instead of designing one more infinity-pool, we tried to explore uncharted waters involving technology and changing forever the swimming experience.”

Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide