Espenes Rest Stop, Hardanger, Norway by Light Bureau

The Espenes Rest Stop – a ‘destination experience’ by the Norwegian Scenic Routes' initiative – has won both PLATINUM and GREEN in the lighting category of the Build Back Better Awards 2023.

The building seamlessly blends nature-inspired aesthetics with intelligent lighting design to create a landmark that subtly enhances its environment while respecting its essence.

The horizontal line of the water, the peaks of the surrounding mountains and the wind conditions all informed the distinctive geometry of the roof. The lighting design by Light Bureau is similarly inspired by the place and the surroundings; the cool moonlight that illuminates the mountain tops and the nearby glacier in contrast to the warm light of fire. 

Guided by the philosophy of 'less is more' and a 'design with intent' approach, the lighting scheme accentuates the building's sculptural form and the interplay of light and shadow. The lighting's careful interaction with the metal surfaces evokes an ever-changing ambiance when seen from either end of the pavilion that lends an ethereal quality to the space.

Light Bureau used less than 40W of power to illuminate the 50-metre-long roofline. The local ecology is respected, such as in the dimly lit roof.

The project incorporates luminaires from manufacturers that use circular economy principles by allowing for flexibility in repair, upgrading and upcycling. 

For the functional aspect of the lighting, thoughtful solutions were employed. In the restrooms, specialised steel and acrylic bollards double as floor lamps, creating a gentle ambiance. 

Additional lighting in the door leaf, constructed from steel and tempered opalised glass, extends warm illumination to both the room and the outer corridor—a testament to efficient design. Moreover, these luminaires adapt to the lock system's signals, adjusting light intensity based on usage patterns.

Lighting design practice: Light Bureau

Lighting design team: Paul Traynor, Arve Olsen, Christina Haraldseth, Benjamin Reinhoff, Øystein Johansen

Architects: Code Arkitektur 

Notable suppliers: Light Graphix (Rebel Light), Stoane Lighting (Rebel Light)

LED Linear (Fagerhult), iGuzzini

Pictures: Fovea Studio