Aqua Pods, designed by UAE-based Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) and produced by Innovative Marine Ventures (IMV), are the world’s first fully self-sustained mobile floating lounge. Their AP EX1 model comes with a marine e-commerce application called Aqua Pod, that provides consumers access to the pods, alongside a network of leisure, aquatic sports, tourism and retail off the coast and along the Dubai Water Canal shoreline.

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Aqua pod design team posing in front of the pod

The AP EX1 model was designed to align with UAE’s Vision 2021, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the country. It aims to shift from oil as the nation’s primary income, to other means that are more efficient and eco-friendly.

Related: Kiribati Floating Houses address rising waters and land limitations

Floating module with greenery

One of the six core components of the program is healthy environment and sustainable infrastructure. Aqua Pods aim to contribute to this venture, while taking a consumer-centric approach and exploring the concept of aquatic architecture.

Fixed central table flanked by two seating benches resembling a ships interior

The sleek, floating modules are fully solar-powered to utilize the abundant desert sun, thus reducing greenhouse emissions. Additionally, to obtain fresh water, the pods contain a reverse osmosis water purification system to desalinate up to 100 liters of water daily without disposing the brine back into the sea. This is an optimal alternative to typical desalination systems in the Middle East that dump brine consisting of high concentrations of salt and chemical residues back in the ocean that threatens marine life, particularly when the dense solution sinks to the ocean floor.

View toward the Dubai skyline in the evening from the edge of the pod

Thanks to the multifunctional nature of the Aqua Pod, it benefits the economy. It can be used for a multitude of activities and serve various industries to bridge on- and off-shore services. The design team has been insistent on creating an integrated commercial marine ecosystem to pioneer the future of floating retail, tourism, leisure and logistics.

Aqua pod against the Dubai skyline in the evening

The floating developments can offer personalized experiences for events, water sports and tourism within the traditional and modern waterways of Dubai. The self-sustained AP EX1s can also be adapted to provide medical ambulatory services or deliveries along the canal, serve as recharge stations for marine vehicles and house cultivation systems such as hydroponics. In fact, the 45 sqm Aqua Pod EX1 model can even be expanded by 25 percent to suit the needs of the customers.

Aqua Pod module against the dock in the evening against the Dubai skyline

AADS and IMV explore floating structures as a means of adapting to rising sea levels and climate change. The AADS team hopes that their projects will spark conversations on the necessity of urban floating developments in coastal regions and to prepare for the inevitable increase in water levels and diminishing coastline. Not only will this approach create resilient cities, but will support progressive, flexible economies around the world.


Images via AADS