The call of nature

At the margins of the famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the five-star The Retreat is nestled between the lava formations to give its guests a unique experience in which to relax, explore and regenerate themselves

The Retreat, Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Retreat, Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Owner: Blue Lagoon Iceland hf
Main Contractor: J·verk
Architecture: Basalt Architects
Experience design: Design Group Italia
Interior design: Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia
Furnishings: B&B Italia, Minotti
Lighting: Liska, Oluce, Vibia
Bathrooms: Axor
Engineering: EFLA
Photo credits: courtesy of Blue Lagoon Island

Lunar landscapes, black lava as far as the eye can see, glaciers tossed into the sea and pools of warm water from which puffs of vapour rise and then fade out in the Arctic light. Iceland is a solitary, isolated land, the ideal destination for those who love to travel for real. And communion with a primordial nature that manifests itself in all its strength is inevitable.

Among the most beautiful gifts of the tormented Icelandic subsoil is a geothermal lagoon with Caribbean reflections where you can close your eyes and forget yourself. Located in the peninsula of Reykjanes, the Blue Lagoon is a basin of turquoise water rich in silica, algae and minerals that is found in a lava expanse created after the eruption of a volcano over 800 years ago. An extremely popular place for its incredible revitalising and curative effects that starting this year has reserved, for an exclusive public, a luxurious retreat of 62 suites with an underground spa, direct access to the lagoon far from the crowds, the Icelandic Moss restaurant, a library and a room for practicing yoga.

The Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind and enter a timeless realm of relaxation, regeneration and exploration.

Its minimalist architecture and experience design were respectively designed by Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia to harmonise with the crevices and the moss that gives more shades to the green-brown lava. The external cement has been treated to recreate different textures and tones that evoke the colour of the white silica and the grey of the solidified lava, while the façade and the windows of the rooms that overlook the spa area are in dark grey tones and show perforations that bring to mind the surfaces of the igneous rock. Even the interiors are inspired by the shapes, colours and motifs of the landscape with surfaces of cement, rock and lava combined with warm walnut woods, containing elements that enliven the spaces, establishing a connection with contemporary movements. The resulting style is timeless and sophisticated, but also an absolute novelty in the Icelandic luxury sector.

B&B Italia has created and supplied all the millwork and furniture for various areas of the hotel, as well as the decorative lighting of the hotel, restaurant, library and wellness centre. The furnishing elements include products from the B&B Italia and Maxalto collections, including the Mart armchairs, the Michel Club seating system and the Febo armchairs.
Minotti enhances the environment with the comfort of the Leslie armchairs, along with the Andersen bench, both designed by Rodolfo Dordoni.

In addition, numerous poufs, accessories and coffee tables enrich the rooms, thanks also to a series of custom-made furnishings from designs by Design Group Italia exclusively for The Retreat. Examples are the reception desk in lava stone, black lacquered wood and cognac-coloured leather created in collaboration with Icelandic companies specialised in the processing of volcanic rock, or the large wooden sideboard placed at the entrance, lengthwise to the lobby, which becomes a sort of frame for the lagoon.

In the Moss restaurant, the Contract Division of B&B Italia was in charge of the production of the tables in Canaletto walnut and black oak, designed by Design Group Italia, and of the C-shaped table in the centre of the room. While the Icelandic artist Ragna Róbertsdóttir has been entrusted with the wall installation where, in a minimal aesthetic, the lava fragments reappear.

In the suites, full-wall windows annul the visual boundaries, while the nuances of the furnishings perfectly match the surrounding nature, reflecting the colours: green tones recall the moss in the rooms on the upper floor, the blue on the lower floor instead cites the Lagoon.

The Retreat’s wellness centre has been created directly inside the centenary lava flow and is completed with wooden elements and lighting capable of enhancing the different textures of the materials used and the sculptural effect of the walls hewn from the rock itself.