Iceland is one place in the world where you can experience nature at its most raw. Unlike the forests of Japan where immersion is all about bathing in foliage, in Iceland it is all water and ice and a horizon that disappears into nothingness.
Deep in lava on a private inlet of the titular lagoon, the natural rock formations create both the perimeter of the lagoon and the interior walls of The Retreat, Iceland's first 5-star hotel. Completed this year, the project includes a health spa, restaurant with views over the Reykjanes Peninsula, and a luxury hotel with 62 rooms surrounded by the lagoon. Two wings come together in the hotel lobby, which connects the new architectural intervention with the original Blue Lagoon buildings that first opened in 1992. Here buildings and nature are in balance.
Interiors draw on the location’s rugged geography. Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia developed a natural palette that brings the brut concrete superstructure, the colour of the surrounding grey lava, together with terrazzo, sand, water and Iceland’s vibrant green moss. A furniture collaboration with B&B Italia provided all the millwork and the furnishings for most of the interiors, as well as the decorative lighting for the hotel, Moss restaurant, library and spa.
Furniture from the B&B Italia and Maxalto collections connects with the surrounding landscape. Natural leathers, deep grey armchairs, timber panelling and bespoke lighting brush against rendered walls and open fires to create a beautiful level of honed comfort. Key design pieces include B&B Italia's Mart armchairs and Michel Club seating designed by Antonio Citterio, Febo armchairs by Maxalto, and ottomans, accessories and small tables that enrich each space. A custom lava-based wall installation by artist Ragna Róbertsdóttir and ceramics from the Icelandic Museum of Design and Art's collection completes the interior which celebrates Iceland’s wild beauty.