CLIENT Seabird Resorts
YEAR 2009 – 2013
VISUALS Ali Rangoonwala


The Alila Diwa in Goa, India, is a 200-room, resort with 4 restaurants with bars, a conference facility, a health spa, and 3 swimming pools. The entire resort was built in accordance with the “Green Globe” environmental guidelines, which focus 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.

The lighting design approach for Alila Diwa had two key aims. First, create a fully immersive experience for guests using illumination, from the overall plan to the materials for individual light fixtures, to emphasize the resort’s spirit of serenity, luxury, and romance. Second, attain Green Globe status through balancing the utilization and preservation of local resources and reduction of light pollution.

In the development of the lighting concept, Alila Diwa and its surroundings became both the subject and inspiration. The beauty and complexity of the local flora and fauna, such as the indigenous frangipani and banyan trees, for example, were integrated into the lighting concept and augmented through a judicious rendition of appropriately-located light fixtures. A guide was created for developing lighting designs that would feel, but also the detail and nuance in the architecture and landscape. A focal point analysis was done in tandem with an additional step where all views were considered. This step required especially careful consideration and thoughtful visualization. This process enabled us to deliver designs based on the experience of the people that work, play, and relax in the spaces. Alila Diwa’s focal points are the resort’s key restaurants, major architectural features, such as building facades, important junctions, such as the covered path weaving between buildings, spa area, and main entrance. The lighting layout is an interpretation, complete with technical considerations, of the guidelines set forth early in our creative process. Fixture spacing, quantity, placement, type, and architectural detailing were just a few of the considerations that were carefully considered and researched before implementing the lighting design intent.

Often working with the architect’s initial renderings of a project, we use a tried and tested rendering process to accurately capture the feel of the space once it has been illuminated. During this process of conceptualization, we further refined and crafted the nuance of the design vision.

The central lobby’s warmth emanates through arched openings. The warmth of the lobby mingles with the calm surfaces of the surrounding pools, engaging in a cyclical exchange. The cooling effect of the pools receive emphasis from recessed, underwater lighting. Central columns in the lobby are highlighted by downlights, which create a rhythm that draws attention to the central chandelier with perforated copper cylinders hanging at various lengths. Despite budget and local fabrication challenges, the simple and elegant custom-designed chandelier was execute beautifully and designed by us. Furthermore, fixtures were positioned to brighten the wood plank ceiling, instead to allow such detail— a hallmark of Goan architecture— to disappear into shadow.