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Lighting Design at the Retreat

Iceland’s Liska and Italy’s iGuzzini jointly articulated the principles and techniques governing the Retreat’s lighting design.

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland is comprised of a spa carved into the volcanic earth, 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 and Italy’s iGuzzini jointly articulated the principles and techniques governing the Retreat’s lighting design. 

Each of the Retreat’s three components—the hotel, the spa, and the lagoon—had its 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. Light, even the absence of light, becomes a revitalizing experience. This is an approach to lighting design called 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—illuminates the tactile geometries of the construction and design materials; concealed light fixtures conjure peripheral hints of objects floating in air, rocks levitating in defiance of gravity, light radiating from inside the earth; focal glow—light that creates a tightly focused pool of illumination—was used for objects or surfaces requiring specific attention in order to convey key information; ambient lighting was deployed where orientation and understanding are of paramount concern; and the play of brilliants—light that triggers enchantment and inspiration—is manifest naturally and artificially. 

The principles guiding the orchestration of the types of lighting were: light must be set according to thermal range, not color; light must enable a cyclical awareness of daylight during the darkness of winter, thus 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. The totality of the modes and methods they adopted have contributed to an extraordinary experience of wellbeing in the heart of an often dark, harsh environment.

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