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W Retreat & Spa, Bali, Indonesia

Issue 61 Jun/Jul 2011 : Retail : Hotel

Architect: KIAT Lighting Design: LUMINA GROUP

Lumina Group was charged with creating a ‘mysterious and relaxing’ experience for visitors to the latest in W’s new strand of Retreat & Spa resorts, which opened in Bali earlier this year

Following the successful establishment of its first W Retreat & Spa in the Maldives, W owners Starwood are rolling the concept out across the globe with new ventures in Koh Samui and, opened in March this year, a new resort in Bali. Situated in the Seminyak area of the island, the W Retreat & Spa Bali’s 237 rooms and 80 villas offer guests world-class hospitality and spectacular ocean panoramas.

The challenge for lighting designers Lumina Group and interior designers AB Concept was finding a way of fusing the distinctive W style with a local vernacular to ensure the resort remained true to its location. A series of key words and phrases – ‘mysterious, shadow play, tranquil, twist of colours’ - were chosen early on in the process to establish a reference point for the lighting design throughout the resort as the project progressed.

The retreat experience begins from the moment guests start along the road that leads to the main hotel entrance. In order to create a modest, calming first impression, path lighting is concealed within cut bamboo posts sitting amongst the vegetation. Treated to protect against weather and bugs, each post is cut across at an angle and fitted with LED lights to form glowing points of warm light that appear to float between living bamboo trees. Some posts have been shaped to fit an MR16 uplight and metal reflector in order to direct light onto the road surface.
Guests arrive at an entry courtyard and are greeted by the iconic W sign, bursting with a ‘vertical garden’ style layer of vegetation. The W sits above a square pool edgelit by red strip lighting.  A subtle mist surrounds the sign, illuminated by green underwater uplights to create an exotic ‘Lost World’ mystique. Warm whites wash the stone walls to create a backdrop for the scene. 

A series of custom-made fixtures sit beneath a parade of coconut tress leading to the hotel lobby. Finished in glossy black they are a contemporary twist on Bali’s traditional moss-covered clay pots. Each comprises both CFL spotlights, throwing light downward through holes in its base in order to create a speckled pattern across the ground, and CDM spotlights to illuminate the tree canopy.

For the rest of the exterior, lighting is purposely unobtrusive. The landscape masterplan proscribed the use of poles or bollards, so discrete garden lamps were used and then only placed in dedicated planter areas.

The main pool area is a spectacular collection of cascading water and paddy-field inspired ponds. Instead of challenging the coloured light from the interior, the landscape was given a monochrome, warm white scheme. Gobo fitted spotlights project coconut-leaf patterns on to the deck areas and scattered dots of LED light add sparkle – and a touch of glamour – to the pool. From 7pm onwards, the submerged lighting is dimmed down, allowing the pools to become serene reflective surfaces.
In concept, the lobby could be considered as much an entertainment space as a reception point. The lobby bar - with its glowing shelving and counter - is located close by, separated from arriving guests by a long curved partition that also acts as a back drop to the reception desks. For Lumina, this full height partition was a gift, providing them an expansive canvas on which to ‘paint’ lighting effects. Colour changing LEDs, spotlights and candle-effect luminaires were brought together and programmed to create a coordinated dynamic scheme that changes to reflect the time of day.

As the sun sets, for example, the lighting shifts towards an amber palette. As well as making the space feel more connected with the outside world, it resolves the issue, common in this style of open tropical architecture, of the dramatically contrasting light levels experienced when moving between interior and exterior spaces at this time of day. The restaurant spaces also adopt an orangey sundown theme, giving those outside the impression that the whole hotel is somehow reflecting the colours of the sky.

Later into the night, guests gravitate towards the resort’s Woo Bar and the lobby becomes more subdued. The reception desks become less dominant as the space is filled with waves of dark magenta – derived from the W Bali brand identity - and the flicker from ‘candles’ nestled within the partition.

W Bali has two restaurants, Fire and Starfish Bloo, which are located at either end of the main building. The differing styles of each – hot for Fire and cold for Starfish Bloo -  intuitively suggested what colour themes to use. The reds and warmer tones of Fire are embodied in the custom-made ‘Fireball’ chandelier and ‘Kecak’ pendant lamps designed by Poole Associates. AR111 spotlights are selectively aimed to highlight features like planters and traditional ‘geringsing’ fabric patterns, as well as emphasising the shape and textures of the wooden seating and natural stone surfaces.

A private dining space, One Below, is hidden beneath one of the resort’s ponds. Uplights shine through the wall of water as it cascades down a glass wall and spotlights direct light through the pond above. The resultant projection of ripples across the room creates a thematic tension between fire and water visuals.

Dimmed miniature LED downlights and rechargeable table lamps illuminate the al fresco dining area. Amber uplights on each of the H beam columns and torch fixtures positioned around the perimeter complete the Fire experience.

Starfish Bloo - characterised by blues and cooler tones - also has outdoor dining on offer. To avoid the need for sockets and to keep seating layouts on the deck area as flexible as possible, custom rechargeable standard lamps were used, their tall, curved profile echoing the banana cabana structure nearby.

The resort’s nighttime entertainment centres around Woo Bar - a dedicated building, set apart from the hotel, where guests can come to relax, socialise and dance until the early hours. From the bar and outdoor deck at ground level, stairs lead visitors to a basement dancefloor (designed to prevent noise spilling into the hotel). This subterranean location was developed with an underwater theme, thus Poole Associates created seashell pendants to decorate the space. Uplights reveal the arch structure of the room, with different colours selected to differentiate the different areas and functions around the bar.

Be it the stimulating visuals of Woo Bar or the peaceful muted landscape outside, Lumina’s schemes create a multi-textured nightscape that caters for guests’ varied tastes. 

Project Details
W Retreat & Spa, Bali, Indonesia
Client: Starwood
Lighting Designer: Abdi Ahsan, Lumina Group
Concept Architect: SCDA
Architect of Record: KIAT
Lanscape Architect: Intaran
Interior Design: AB Concept, Poole Associates
Signage: DPC

Lighting Specified
LEDs: Osram Dragon Eye, Osram Colormix, Philips Color Kinetics iColor Cove, Philips Color Kinetics Colorblast, Edison Flux PLCC (linear flexible), Traxon PXL RGB
Downlights: Sylvania Instar, Endo GLED, Delta Light Hole In One, iGuzzini Spin
Lighting Control: Strand Dimming System, Philips Color Kinetics iPlayer
Custom lights: Master Lamp, Idea Lighting


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