The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland is a spa carved strategically into the volcanic earth. It features sixty-two elegant guest suites surrounded by the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, and a restaurant with a stunning view of the moss-covered landscape.
Iceland’s Liska, a lighting and electrical design studio and Italy’s iGuzzini, a company that produces intelligent lighting systems for interiors and exteriors, came together to establish the principles and techniques that created the Retreat’s lighting design.
The Retreat’s three components – the hotel, the spa, and the lagoon – each have their own unique lighting requirements, but the lighting design was unified by a common goal: to preserve the enchantments of Iceland’s natural light while creating artificial light that is energizing, relaxing, and engaging for the guests. Light, even the absence of light, becomes a revitalizing experience. This approach to lighting design is known as “human centric lighting.”
Five types of lighting were deployed to fulfill the promise of human centric lighting:
- Wall grazing: Light that cascades across a vertical plane and illuminates the tactile geometries of the construction and design materials.
- Concealed light fixtures: These conjure peripheral hints of objects floating in air-like rocks levitating in defiance of gravity.
- Focal glow: Light that creates a tightly focused pool of illumination. This is used for objects or surfaces requiring specific attention in order to convey key information like hotel signs.
- Ambient lighting: This is deployed where orientation and understanding are of paramount concern like in a hallway.
- Brilliants: Light that triggers enchantment and inspiration.
The principles guiding the installation of the types of lighting at The Retreat were:
- Light must be set according to thermal range, not color.
- Light must enable a cyclical awareness of daylight during the darkness of winter, replicating circadian rhythms.
- Light must never intrude upon the celestial bodies and exquisite solar phenomena of Iceland’s night sky.
- Light must allow us to experience darkness from within the Retreat.
- Light must strive to dissolve the boundaries between earth and architecture.
- Light must be energy efficient.
As the Retreat took shape at Blue Lagoon Iceland, the principles and techniques defined by Liska and iGuzzini turned the idea of human centric lighting into a reality. Ultimately, the modes and methods the Retreat has adopted have contributed to an extraordinary experience of wellbeing in the heart of an often dark and harsh environment.