Basalt Architects has been awarded the 2018 Iceland Design Award for what the judges have characterised as the firm’s “contribution to bathing culture in Iceland.” The firm is behind the recent Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, which was co-designed with the Italia design group, the Mývatn Earth Baths, the GeoSea Baths in Húsavík, among many other bathing-related projects (see here). The judges celebrated the firm’s “unique ability to intertwine architecture and landscape” and continued by saying that they “had become a role model in designing nature baths in Iceland.”
“I wish that we deserved these beautiful words from the judging committee,” said Basalt architect Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir in a radio interview. “Bathing culture in Iceland is, of course, an ancient phenomenon. Unfortunately, it’s still rather common for people to cut corners on design when it comes to tourism construction. But I think it comes back to bite the people who do that in the end – it’s short-term thinking.”
“A large portion of tourists have come here to enjoy and experience Icelandic nature,” Sigríður continued. “We try in our design to highlight the individuality of each place, we visit them and get to know their histories. We try to incorporate this into our design and architecture, because each place possesses a mystery and secrets that a person can get to know if they try...You can draw a building that’s like a spaceship that has landed in the lava or a new lava perimeter and leave it to come into its own – it’s a question of methodology.”
The Iceland Design prize was awarded for the fifth time last weekend. In addition to Basalt, the lava centre was awarded Best Investment in Design. Read more about the design prize winners and the shortlisted honorees (in English) here and see Basalt’s extensive projects here.