A lighting design project by EFLA Consulting Engineers has been shortlisted for the 2016 Darc Awards. The project was the lighting design in the Langjökull ice cave tunnel. A few hundred international lighting design projects entered the The Darc Awards this year and EFLA's project was one of the 88 finalists. We are very proud of this achievement and look forward to the vote´s final result that will be presented on September 15th 2016.
Into The Glacier – Langjökull Glacier
In Europe's second-largest glacier, at a height of 1,200 metres, lies Iceland's newest tourist attraction: a magnificent, man-made, 500-metre ice cave tunnel, the longest in the world.
The aim of the project was to provide a natural and unique experience, well planned light scenes with natural light colours and limited use of other colours. Guests are to experience the lighting without any visible equipment or cables.
This project presented many challenges, including the fact that the temperature is consistently around 0 degrees Celsius, so heat from LED lighting had to be minimal in order to prevent melting. This was done by raising lighting equipment from the ice so that it is never in direct contact with it, as well as having a tight network of sensors and precisely programmed DMX controllers to limit the light-time of each light source to 5–7 minutes.
The visitor experience is divided into segments with darkened passages in between to provide contrast. When guests view the Eyjafjallajökull ash layer, for example, the passage ahead is darkened, with only a back-lit wall at a 50-metre distance providing soft and billowing blue and white colours. When the guide has finished his/her account, the lights in the tunnel walls are turned on, slowly and gradually, until reaching the visitors by the Eyjafjallajökull ash layer 50 metres above. The purpose is to provide the visitors with a unique and powerful experience.
There are several themed spaces on the 500-metre trek through the glacier, including an assembly hall, chapel and pillar hall where lighting was installed in locations such as an altar, benches, walls and the floor without any visible installations. This was one of the major challenges in this project.
The most spectacular experience on this journey is the large crevasse that crosses the tunnel and provides guests with a spectacular and mystical connection to the natural forces from the bottom of the crevasse, 30 metres below the glacier surface. The lighting, provided by powerful LED projectors and controls, is a major factor in capturing the magnificence and drawing out the contrasts of this 200-metre- long, 5-metre-wide and 30-metre-deep crevasse. The crevasse is darkened when the guests reach it but is then illuminated in stages, enhancing the experience even further.