CLIENTSeabird Resorts
VISUALSAli Rangoonwala


Alila is a 200-room resort with four bar/restaurants, a conference facility, a health spa, and three swimming pools. The entire resort was built in accordance with ‘Green Globe’ environmental guidelines focused on reducing light pollution and respecting the natural habitats of the local flora and fauna. Given the vernacular architectural style, several choices of lighting treatments, materials and fixtures were informed by local crafts. Light levels were kept at a minimum, thereby sculpting a romantic and exclusive feel.


After a series of meetings and interviews with AWA, Seabird was confident it had found the right studio with which to collaborate. “Given the nature of the project, we all wanted to be sure that there were synergies amongst the team members and that we understood the vision and requirements of the project,” says Abhay Wadhwa, principal, AWA. “We were primarily chosen because we can engage in designing a ‘hand-crafted’ project where the lighting design is a bespoke solution for the project in question, and not recycled design ideas from other projects.”


The approach for Alila Diwa had two key aims. Firstly, to create a fully immersive experience for guests in which illumination, from the overall plan to the material used for individual light fixtures, would emphasize the resort’s spirit of serenity, luxury and romance. Secondly, on an ethical level, the team wanted to attain green globe status through the balanced utilization and preservation of local resources, and through a reduction of light pollution. In creating the concept, Alila Diwa and its surroundings became both subject and inspiration. The beauty and complexity of the local flora and fauna – the indigenous frangipani and banyan trees, for example – were integrated into the lighting concept and augmented through a judicious rendition by appropriately located light fixtures.


In the initial analysis of the site, AWA identified the key focal points of the Alila Diwa resort experience. A guide was created for developing a lighting design that would feel structured but also capture the detail and nuance in the architecture and landscape.


In tandem with the focal points analysis, is an additional step where all views are considered. This step requires careful consideration and thoughtful visualization. This process enables AWA to deliver designs based on the experience of the people that work, play and relax in the spaces to be illuminated. Alila Diwa’s focal points were decided to be the resort’s key restaurants, major architectural features such as building facades, important junctions like the covered path leading from one building to the next, the spa area and the main entrance. The lighting layout is an interpretation, complete with technical considerations, of the guidelines set forth early in the AWA creative process. Fixture spacing, quantity, placement, type, and architectural detailing are just a few of the considerations that are carefully considered and researched before appearing on AWA lighting layouts.