Prized by emperors and collected by kings, koi are a special kind of fish.
First introduced to Japan by way of China, river carp were originally a food source andpart of a staple of the country's diet, until, in the early 1800s, some Japanese farmers began selecting the ones with some colour and breeding them purely for aesthetics.
Now, the national fish of Japan, koi are coveted and collected around the world.
Many follow the Chinese belief that koi bring 'ong', which means luck, and include koi ponds into their spaces as a part of feng shui, to fill their lives with good luck and prosperity.
When HealthHub Al Futtaim Clinic in Dubai wanted to add a koi pond to its commercial interior, a call went out to Koi Water Barn (KWB), the Middle East's only specialist koi centre.
Director Dr Haidar Alyousuf says: "People have always been interested in having koi ponds in commercial spaces; the problem in this part of the world have been the absence of the knowledge to build them right and keep them looking beautiful and keep the fish healthy and happy."
He adds: "Koi ponds as a central feature in commercial spaces in Asia, the West Coast of the USA and for hotels and resorts in places like Hawaii have been popular for decades, but until now most people in the Middle East have beendeterred by our extreme weather conditions and didn't think it possible to keep koi. Or, if they keep them the water was murky and made the ponds not very appealing or easy
He continues: "As a group of designers got to know us and started seeing amazing sustainable results, we have developed a following that now finally see this as an advantage and have started including ponds in their designs, knowing that this will be the wow element of the space."
KWB also supplies and maintains koi to Dubai's Al Qudra Love Lake, part of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, which was inaugurated by Al Mahara, Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Other commercial offerings in the emirate include a 'hideaway' pond for the chairman of a petrochemical company and one overlooked by a financial services office in DIFC.
Further afield, KWB sourced more than 100 fish for a million-litre water feature at the centre of The Ritz-Carlton Abama Hotel in Tenerife, Spain.
Surrounded by restaurants so guests can interact with the koi, the pond has its own innovative automated filtration system.