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Exaggerate | Resort & Spa


In resort and spa establishments, light fixtures are the most prolific example of Exaggerate, as their oversized scale and room-centric positioning command attention.


History of the Chandelier & Over-Scaled Light Fixtures. The medieval era, particularly eleventh-century Europe was the derivation of exaggerated light fixtures, as “lighting came from chandeliers using metal, carved wood, and crystal in various combinations.”1 A range of one to hundreds of candles were arranged in chandeliers to fill spaces devoid of sunlight, although only the wealthiest people were able to install them. Churches and abbeys utilized brass, copper, and bronze for overly large sconce structures. The chandeliers of modest homes, especially early American households, were made simply, of snipped tin, wrought iron, and rough wood.2 Ornamental chandeliers achieved a height of popularity during the Rococo period and Victorian eras of the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively, as candles gave way to oil, and later gas.3

The use of glass in interiors rose exponentially in the 1700s as the island of Murano, in Venice, Italy, and glass houses in London honed their technologies. Although the European trend at the time called for ornate glass crystal pieces to “drip” from the chandelier, the effects of this advance in glass technology are evident in contemporary interiors across the world. Although the aesthetic form of chandeliers is a fluid expression of materiality and ornament, their functionality is fairly consistent, as within the fixture arc lamps that uplight to illuminate the ceiling plane, downlight to give practical, directional light, and “lamps to give life to the tiles that make up the body of the chandelier.”4

Grand hotel and resort spaces devote much square footage to public space such as lobbies, dining rooms, and spa lounges. Oversize light fixtures are utilized as a method of complementing the scale of the space, and effectively filling it with light. The introduction of the new scale commands attention and the furnishing imparts an importance.

Exaggerate in spa interiors is usually manifested by the other furnishings being of a diminished scale, with seating close to the ground. Tschuggen Bergoase (2006) by Mario Botta, illustrates the scale dichotomy, where plinth seating and the exaggerated scale of the light fixture balance the space. Conversely, the public zones of resort interiors use dimensions of such exaggerated proportions that Exaggerate is still notable among furniture of a standard scale. The substantial lighting fixture in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt (2006) in Atlanta, Georgia, is emphasized by the furniture and complemented by robust flanking columns.5 The interplay of different scales in Exaggerate lends itself to a creating a harmonious interior space.6

end notes

  1. 1) John Pile, A History of Interior Design (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 175.
  2. 2) Elizabeth Hilliard, Chandeliers (Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group Limited, 2001), 8.
  3. 3) Pile, A History of Interior Design, 264.
  4. 4) Hilliard, Chandeliers, 11, 176.
  5. 5) Lounge, Tschuggen Bergoase Spa [2006] Mario Botta; Arosa, Switzerland in Enrico Cano, Foto Homberger, and Pino Musi, Relaz: Interiors for Human Wellness (Boston: FRAME Publishers, 2007), 28; Lobby, Grand Hyatt Hotel [2005] Ai Design Group, Atlanta, Georgia in “Casual Elegance,” Hotel Design Magazine (Feb./March, 2006), 19.
  6. 6) Evidence for the archetypical use and chronological sequence of Exaggerate in resort and spa was developed from the following sources: 1970 Lobby, Jerusalem Hilton [1975] Rechter-Zarhy-Rechter, Architect; Dora Gad, Interior Design; Jerusalem, Israel in Interiors 2nd Book of Hotels (New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1978), 67; PhotoCrd: Keren-Or / 1990 Lobby, Four Seasons Maui [1990] James Northcutt Associates, now merged into Wilson and Associates; Maui, HI in Edie Cohen, "Hawaiian Eye," Interior Design 68, no. 12 (Oct. 1997), 186-88; PhotoCrd: Robert Miller / 2000 Lounge, Cotswolds Hotel and Spa [2002] De Matos Storey Ryan; Cowley Manor, UK in Shan Kelly, "Cotswolds Cool," Interior Design 73, no. 10 (Oct. 2002), 235-236; PhotoCrd: Ken Hayden; Dining Room, Sands Macao [2004] Paul Steelman, Steve Anderson of PSDG, Interior Design; Macao, China in Jane Levere, "Shore Thing," Hospitality Design Magazine 27, no. 8 (Nov. 2005), 108-109; PhotoCrd: Joaquim Barreto; Pool, Tschuggen Bergoase Spa [2006] Mario Botta; Arosa, Switzerland in "A Spa Pool, Tschuggen Bergoase Spa in Fred A. Bernstein, "A Spa for the Spirit," Interior Design 78, no. 4 (Apr. 2007): 272-74; PhotoCrd: Pino Musi.

bibliographic citations

1) The Interior Archetypes Research and Teaching Project, Cornell University, (accessed month & date, year).

2) Goldfarb, Rachel. “Theory Studies: Archetypical Practices of Contemporary Resort and Spa Design.” MA Thesis, Cornell University, 2008, 92-97.