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060 FOCUS


These images The communal rooms and corridors of the Euphoria Retreat take design cues from Byzantine archways and contemporary lighting, with a focus on low-contrast illumination


Case study


Anna Sbokou, founder of lighting design consultant ASlight, outlines its award-winning scheme for the Euphoria Retreat spa, where the treatment of light is the essence of both design and guest experience


MYSTRAS, IN THE foothills of Mount Taygetus on the Peloponnese peninsula, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a former centre of Byzantine power in southern Greece. T e Euphoria Retreat, an award-winning wellness hotel complex, is built into the densely forested hillside. T e hotel covers around 7,350m2 extending more than 3,000m2


scheme has won several lighting accolades, including the LIT Award 2019 for lighting design in the Hotel and Restaurants Lighting category, and the IES Award of Excellence 2020.


, with the spa at its heart, over four fl oors. T e lighting


T e design concept refl ects the holistic philosophy of the spa’s founder Marina Efraimoglou, who sees the guest on a personal journey to bring body and mind into harmony. Her approach is based on a combination of principles from Hippocratic and Chinese medicine. Five elements – water, wood, fi re, earth and metal – play an important role, exemplifying the cycle of nature and life. T is understanding was expressed in the design of the hotel complex. Architectural details such as arches and domes create a link to Byzantine art, while spa areas such as the tepidarium and the hammam refer to classical bathing culture. Natural materials and an earthy palette of light and dark colours create a nuanced ambience, predicated on peace, serenity and comfort. T e synergy between architecture, interior design and lighting design was crucial, and we worked closely with the architects, designers and client to develop the lighting strategy. T e goal was an ambience that visually supports the ‘transformative’ experience of the guest, while respecting the location of the hotel and the history of the place. T e challenge was fi nding the fi ne balance between diff erent considerations – from the public areas to the absolute privacy of a treatment, from openness to closeness, from dry to wet, from historical reference to high-end aesthetics, from higher fl oor levels with views overlooking Sparta’s oleanders to the secluded depths of the earth. T e transition between diff erent areas and functions has been established through a consistent design approach and smart control solutions. At the same time, the balance of each individual space has been achieved through the visual clarity between vertical and horizontal luminances. T is made the spaces appear more ‘earthed’ or ‘airy’ according to the spatial scope and function. T e discreet balance between diff used and accent lighting created the appropriate visual richness and calmness. We looked at each room individually so that guests could journey through diff erent lighting moods. Lighting levels were kept low; we worked with high visual contrast and, above all, used predominately warm, soft light. T ough luminaires and lighting applications were designed to evoke a certain sense of the past, the full fl exibility of the latest technology was used in both the design approach and control strategy.


Each of the four levels of the spa corresponds to the individual sections of the journey undertaken by the guest.


ALL IMAGES: MARGARITA NIKITAKI


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