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Lighting comfort for The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

“The Retreat” is the new space that welcomes guests looking for relaxation and the benefits of the mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon, a UNESCO Global Geopark.

The architect, Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir, a founding partner of Basalt Architects, has worked for Blue Lagoon Spa since it was first established in 1987. She created the design for the Silica Hotel and other extensions and for “The Retreat” construction project, which began in 2014, she worked with both Sigurður Þorsteinsson and Design Group Italia. The design of this extension seeks to offer guests all the beauty of the lagoon while minimising the building’s impact on the surrounding environment. The building’s layout is based on an in-depth geomorphological study of the rifts and crevices that make up this volcanic landscape and the construction materials have been chosen to blend with the colours and textures of the landscape. The lighting concept developed by Guðjón L. Sigurðsson is based on concentrated cones of light and an intimate atmosphere. The lighting levels are carefully controlled and many of the products used were chosen because of their Comfort and Super Comfort optics and special Warm Dimming features that allow light intensity to be reduced while simultaneously warming the colour temperature. All this has been done to create “Human Centric Light”.

Most of the luminaires have been built into the architecture or furnishings, a decision that required constant collaboration between Liska, the Basalt studio and Design Group Italia, that is to say, the lighting designer, the architect and the interior designer. An extremely important part of the mood of the new Blue Lagoon structure is the spa, which has an intimate atmosphere with low lighting levels and accent light effects in certain points. The entrance corridor is lit in a highly evocative way with a Linealuce Compact RGB luminaire, set to amber-red colours that filter through the perforated porous material of the walls to create an incandescent lava effect. The colour temperatures used inside the spa range between 2400 and 3000 K.

The shared spaces in the hotel have the same intimate light design. The hotel corridor that mirrors the zig zag shape of the windowed side of the bedrooms is lit by 2700 K Underscore light lines positioned vertically in the niches in the walls. In the reception and restaurant areas, track have been installed in a set-back position with Laser Blade and Tecnica Pro projectors mounted on them to offer, where necessary, slightly more homogeneous lighting even if at very low levels, and subtle accent touches to highlight certain interior design details, like vases or paintings. The vertical surfaces, most of which are in untreated concrete are illuminated from above with grazing light from Underscore Grazer luminaires recessed in the architectural gullies.

Outdoors, the artificial lighting is carefully controlled and depends on small signs and light lines. iWay and iTeka bollards have been installed along the access avenues. Trick luminaires with a 180° light blade have also been used in a very special way by mounting them under the windows of the bedrooms so they project a horizontal line of light that illuminates the seam of minerals deposited along the lava rocks and creates the same “bleaching” effect, at night, that is present during the day. In certain transit areas between the interior and exterior spaces, Underscore light lines, dimmed to a minimum, have been used, while recessed Laser Blade InOut luminaires have been mounted on the verandas.

Particular care has been taken over the way artificial lighting is used and controlled in the bedrooms. There are very few light points and even the warning lights of the electronic devices have been removed to increase the depth of the darkness. The rooms are modular. The entrance door is positioned exactly opposite the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lagoon to wow arriving guests who unexpectedly find themselves right in the heart of nature in a direct relationship with the outside world that cannot be compromised by artificial light. This is why there is no diffuse, homogeneous lighting in the room, but just small light points wherever they are necessary. These include a recessed Laser (Ø 75mm) luminaire with warm dimming, above the bath, which is located in the bedroom, and 2700 K Underscore light lines, one installed in the bed head as a reading light and another inserted in the foot of the bed that is activated by a presence sensor to provide courtesy light at night. A specific lighting system has also been designed for the coat hanger area, which consists of an extruded sheet with three hooks, a recessed Ø 17 mm Laser luminaire and a small Underscore 15 section.

Inside the room, the second “wow effect” is created by the “SoleLuna” luminaire that was specifically designed for this project. The Lighting Designer asked iGuzzini to create a totally natural effect on the ceiling, as if there were a real sun and moon in the room. Guðjón L. Sigurðsson wanted people to look at the luminaire and see the same faint halo that is created around the sun and moon by the earth’s atmosphere. In other words, a highly natural light effect that would blur the perimeter and the area on the ceiling around it. The solution involved developing numerous parts, including: a 1.2 m diameter ceiling-mounted luminaire, fixing plates with LED circuits and a range of colour temperatures combining a 2100 K, 85 CRI amber, a 4000 K, 90 CRI white and a 6000 K, 90 CRI white (the latter values are particularly significant as it is extremely difficult to create such high colour rendering indexes with very cold colour temperatures); cables for adjusting the height of the luminaire; a Clipso acoustic ceiling covering which creates the blurred effect envisaged by Guðjón L. Sigurðsson. In order to make everything user-friendly for the hotel guests, the different light scenarios are extremely easy to control. A small panel has been inserted in the bedhead with 4 buttons to activate the different light atmosphere effects, namely: Relaxing, with low lighting levels of approximately 50 Lux and a warm colour temperature; Energizing which raises the lighting levels to 350 Lux without the amber component; Day with lighting levels of approximately 120 Lux and Night where only the 4000 and 6000 K LEDs are operated with a number of circuits switched off to reproduce the dark spots on the moon’s surface. An extremely subtle wake-up call can be added to this variable light system that has to be booked at reception. At the time indicated by the guest, a 5-minute-long dynamic light cycle is activated, which shifts the light intensity from 0% to 90% and from amber to a colour temperature of 5600K, to ensure that guests are woken up gently and gradually, not by a sound, but by light. All this has been designed to create the highest level of relaxation and comfort for the hotel’s guests.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Blue Lagoon
  • Architectural project:
    Basalt Architects
  • Lighting project:
    Liska - Guðjón L. Sigurðsson
  • General contractor:
  • Interior design:
    Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia
  • Video
  • Photographer
    Gunnar Sverrisson photographer