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My Element: Nir Gilad, Nous Design

Part of our recurring series, Gilad speaks about his favourite part of any design and why his choice represents freedom and balance.


2 min read


Nir Gilad is the creative director and founder of Nous Design, a leading London-based design studio that works across hospitality, retail and luxury residential. Projects include the Setai, Sea of Galilee; Molecule, Westbourne Grove, London; and Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow.

My element:

A pool or a body of water


Human beings have always been drawn to ponds and pools, which represent a source of life and cleanliness. They even enabled the growth of the agriculture revolution and have been used as natural air conditioning for thousands of years. Wealth was even measured in many ancient civilizations by the amount of water a person had – so beautifully demonstrated at the magnificent Alhambra palace in Granada.

Nowadays, of course, pools are not just for the rich. They decorate landscapes, are used internally as water features and have been recognised as important sources of wellbeing and mindfulness.


I love using pools in our designs. We use them as features in entrance halls and receptions; coming into a space with the calming sound of trickling water changes attitudes and helps bring identity to a space. We also use pools for mirroring our surroundings. In one of our large villa complexes, the pool reflection creates a magnificent imaging of the sky above by day and, by night, enhances the experience of the surrounding natural beauty. This body of water is only 15 cm deep but creates the impression of infinity as it merges the sky and sea views.

Likewise, pools in spas have always been my fascination, as they create a meditative environment. We carefully select the type of materials we use to best reflect the feeling we would like to achieve and one can immediately see the change in guests’ emotions as they walk through an area adjacent to a pool. Bringing human beings closer to nature changes their behaviour is ultimately such a calming influence. 

The personal connection:

Pools represent holidays, freedom and a place where we find balance. For me they a great way to reset in my own day-to-day life. I love to dive in – the first second under the water with complete silence, then hearing only your breathing. It isolates me from the rest of the world and puts me in touch with myself.  I try to do this in the morning as it gives me focus and a sense of direction for the rest of the day.

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