Boasting spectacular views across the Dubai skyline, AURA SKYPOOL is the world's highest 360° infinity pool. Despite its ultra urban location at the top of the Palm Tower skyscraper on the manmade Jumeirah archipelago, the interior’s design takes cues from the natural world. That includes a rock formation-inspired sculptural wall, reclaimed wood, and plentiful plants. Opened in November 2021, the record-breaking project strengthens Kokaistudios’ international reputation for destination leisure venues which includes Shanghai’s legendary Bar Rouge. Spanning two floors to include deluxe changing rooms and a light-flooded lounge, the design plays on the senses to holistic, impactful effect.
From the outset, AURA SKYPOOL Lounge sets an exclusive tone thanks to dedicated elevators transporting guests to the building's 50th floor, 210 meters above the ground. Its doors open onto an urban oasis, imagined as ‘an island in the sky’. At its heart is an angular travertino plaster centerpiece, appearing as natural boulders: a geometric finish transforms the tower’s central core from a space-limiting challenge, to a signature focal point. This 3D object forms the backdrop of a central bar, and the counter which is made of reclaimed wood recalling flotsam washed up on the shore. Surrounding concrete floor tiles have been carefully selected for their tactile quality: experienced barefoot, they are reminiscent of walking on sand.
In keeping with the lounge’s island theme, ceiling drapes evoke beachside cabanas while window curtains act as a useful sunscreen in Dubai’s unforgiving heat. Both inject movement into the design as the fabric sways in a welcome breeze from fully openable glass partitions that wrap around the space. In a city so reliant on air-conditioning this natural ventilation sets AURA Lounge apart and ensures guest comfort. Throughout, plants and small trees reinforce the venue’s outdoor, beach-like atmosphere, and complement furnishing’s muted palette of greens, oatmeal, and teal.
Surrounding the central lounge like a shoreline is a wooden deck, replete with sun loungers and tables. From here, guests look across the mirror-like infinity pool that circumnavigates the tower to spectacular city and ocean vistas beyond. On two sides, networks of floating platforms jut into the water for an altogether more exclusive experience that is reminiscent of a private island.
The pool’s height called for wind-breaking partitions at each corner in order to prevent waves breaking over the facility’s outer edge. Although swimmers can pass easily underneath, for private functions the architecture helps visually separate and divide the outdoor area. With this in mind, Kokaistudios’ design also incorporates an outdoor bar along the pool’s eastern side, opening the venue for exclusive parties and private events.
If AURA’s 50th-floor pool and lounge are conceptualized as an island in the sky, its auxiliary facilities are imagined as an atmospheric underwater cave. Located on level 49, functions include changing rooms, staff areas, and a retail kiosk. Physically connected by a brass-clad staircase inlaid with LED lighting, the floors are thematically linked through color, material, and form. At its core is the same angular, rock-like finish of the lounge above; while changing rooms feature sand-blasted blue-green glass doors. An absence of daylight contrasts with the sun-bright atmosphere above, reinforcing the cave motif.
In creating the AURA SKYPOOL, Kokaistudios’ remit was to frame and contextualize the location’s breathtaking views. It achieves this through a design dialogue between outdoor and indoor; manmade islands versus imagined ones; above water and below. As the world's highest 360° infinity pool, the destination has fast become one of Dubai’s must-visit experiences. At the same time, its combination of tactile features, natural breeze, fluttering canopies, and above all, glittering blue water that seems to meet the sky feels nothing short of exclusive, luxurious, and far removed from the heat and intensity of this unique urban center.
Project name: AURA SKYPOOL
Location: Dubai, UAE
Floor area: 1,516 Square meters
Date of completion: Nov. 2021
Client: SHG Ventures
Interior Design: Kokaistudios
Chief Designers: Filippo Gabbiani, Andrea Destefanisc
Design Director: Ian Yu
Project Manager: Yao Yao
Design Team: Junyu Chen, Zheng Xu, Wei Tse Hsieh, Yuen-Wei Chen
Photography: AURA SKYPOOL Dubai, Juliet Dunne
Video: AURA SKYPOOL Dubai
Text: Frances Arnold
Media Contact: Jacqueline Chiang