Basalt Architects completes hotel in Icelandic resort Blue Lagoon

Guests of The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland can admire the turquoise water of the famous lagoon from the hotel suites nestled in the lava formations.


The Blue Lagoon is located in the UNESCO Global Geopark and includes a series of pools containing geothermal seawater rich in minerals like silica and sulfur known to be good for treating skin conditions.

The original Blue Lagoon Spa, the subsequent Silica Hotel and other extensions to the Blue Lagoon facilities were designed by Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir, founding partner of Basalt architects. Sigurður orsteinsson and Italy Design Group, collaborated with Basalt Architects on the retreat at Blue Lagoon.

Over the following years, the complex was expanded to incorporate a restaurant, and in 2014, construction began on The retreat at the Blue Lagoon Iceland.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

The new hotel represents the culmination of founder Grímur Sæmundsen’s vision for the Blue Lagoon as an epicenter of health and wellness.

The design of the retreat aims to take advantage of the natural beauty of the lagoon and minimize the impact of the building on its surroundings. A thorough analysis of the cracks and fissures that form this volcanic landscape informed the layout of the plan.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

A degree of flexibility has also been incorporated into the design to allow the plan to adapt in response to unexpected findings during the excavation process. As a result, the building blends in perfectly with the surroundings and incorporates some of the natural features.

“We wanted lava, moss, water to be ubiquitous, resulting in an architecture woven with the natural elements,” explained the architects.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

“Bare lava forms walls inside and out and covers roofs. Water surrounds, flows through and cascades, and lush moss stretches to the horizon.”

The material palette used throughout the project was chosen to complement the hues and textures of the landscape, with the site’s raw concrete, wood and lava all used to blend in with the natural surroundings.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

The predominantly concrete structure includes elements that were either prefabricated or cast in place. Exposed concrete is treated to create walls with different textures and tones that evoke white silica or gray lava.

The spa and hotel’s bespoke facades and screens feature a dark gray tint and a perforated pattern that recalls the airy surface of solidified igneous rock. All the furniture in the hotel was created by B&B Italia.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

The 62 suites feature a minimalist aesthetic, with floor-to-ceiling windows that draw attention to the view of the lagoon or moss-covered rocks.

Lava is used in various forms throughout the interior to form surfaces and objects that root the building in its context. These include service counters in the reception area and a chef’s table in the new Moss restaurant made from lava rock quarried on site.

Blue Lagoon Retreat by Basalt Architects

A wine cellar for the restaurant is surrounded by exposed stone walls which are dramatically illuminated from below, with additional pendant lights contributing to the subdued ambience.

Dezeen recently featured a sculptural table crafted from volcanic rock by the Icelandic studio Innriinnri. Formed from basalt, the designer immersed the two slabs of the table in The Blue lagoon to allow silica to seep into the material, resulting in a white glaze on the underside of the stone.


Project credits:

Architectural design: Basalt architects
Experiment design: Italy Design Group
Interior design : Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia
Product design: Italy Design Group
Lighting design: Liska
Engineering: EFLA
Construction inspection: VSS, Verkfræðistofa Suðurnesja
General contractor : Jáverk


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