From the spectacular neon glow of the Northern lights to the long, luminous twilights of Nordic winters and the summer midnight sunlight in the North has an enchanting, inspiring quality. Liska, an innovative Icelandic lighting design and electrical company, harnesses these singular elements to create remarkable and sustainable lighting designs and solutions, enhancing the interaction between humans and the environments where they feel, experience, connect, and live.

Founded seven years ago by a team of lighting designers and electrical engineers, Liska, which is the Icelandic word for “chromaticity,” has been a pioneer in the realm of lighting design in Iceland. Rather than focusing solely on illuminating interior spaces and buildings, the agency’s approach prioritises the specific needs and wellbeing of the individuals, and living organisms, occupying the spaces or environments. Over the years, Liska’s diverse, dedicated team has received multiple awards, both national and international, and is currently Iceland’s largest lighting design company with ten members. Recently, they were awarded with the highest award of distinction for interior lighting design at the 50th annual IES award ceremony.

Liska: Discover Nordic lighting design Experience the magical spectrum of Icelandic light.

SoleLuna light in the Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Photo: Gunnar Sverrisson

“Our projects range from hospitality and wellness projects to landmarks, municipal, residential, outdoor spaces, light art and installations, museums and more,” says Kateřina Blahutová, architect and lighting designer at Liska. “In Icelandic schools, for example, we’ve been putting the focus on the biological effect light has on kids and members of the staff. Adjusting the colour temperature and intensity at certain times throughout the day can help preserve circadian rhythms, thus affecting the children and helping establish routines beneficial for their development.”

Liska also leads in the LED-ification of streetlights, driving energy savings, reducing operational costs, and improving overall lighting quality in Icelandic cities and municipalities. On larger commercial projects such as The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon in southwestern Iceland, Liska has introduced a more elevated, intimate, and holistic approach to hospitality. The project has received multiple awards for architecture and lighting. One such award was for the “SoleLuna ” luminaire in the suites, which mimics the moon and sun, a luminaire that can be enjoyed both as an aesthetic piece of art and as a functional feature for, for example, wake-up calls.

Liska: Discover Nordic lighting design Experience the magical spectrum of Icelandic light.

View of the main nave towards organ with festive lighting. Photo: Örn Erlendsson

“At the Blue Lagoon, we used dark sky-friendly lighting to preserve the enchantment of Iceland’s natural lighting and night sky. Our designs created a relaxing and revitalizing atmosphere by highlighting the relationship between nature, human biology, and architectural design,” says Örn Erlendsson, architectural engineer and lighting designer at Liska. “All the lighting allows for a superior level of comfort, meeting the functional requirements whilst also creating a mood and atmosphere for guests to fully relax and rejuvenate.”

Liska’s philosophy lies in a unified artistic approach to light design, heavily influenced by the unique conditions of Icelandic light, which, with dark winters and long summer days, directly impacts the island’s inhabitants’ state of mind and emotional wellbeing. In one of Liska’s most recent and most awarded projects, the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral, the lighting design was heavily influenced by the Nordic lights sky and rhythms.

“Our human-centric lighting approach is very much based on circadian rhythms and our design caters to these changes in human energy throughout the day,” says Blahutová. “On the Hallgrímskirkja project, the colour temperature and intensity of light is adjusted throughout the day to give visitors a sense of natural rhythm. Extending the functionality of the light even further, dynamic colourful lighting scenes can be applied on special occasions.”

To accommodate this, Liska employs technology that emulates natural light during the darker months and designs colder lighting for office spaces to boost productivity. In contrast, evening lighting takes inspiration from the relaxing effect of fire and candlelight. This intricate understanding of how lighting influences human mood and behaviour extends even to mealtimes, where lower colour temperature lighting can aid digestion and make food appear more appetising.

“We tend to be very influenced by the Nordic night sky, the twilight especially,” elaborates Erlendsson. “We have a lot of darkness in the winter, and we have long sunsets and sunrises, generally warmer in colour, and that’s kind of where we seek inspiration in the light.”

A common thread weaving through Liska’s work is the emphasis on sustainability and smart programming. Drawing from the minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian design and the outstanding natural beauty of Iceland, the agency aims to create the maximum impact with minimal resources. This commitment extends to seeking more sustainable and environmentally conscious products for their clients, reducing energy consumption, and utilising smart controls to adjust to the changing Nordic lighting conditions.

With their focus on human-centric lighting, innovative designs, and commitment to sustainability, Liska is determined to keep bringing light to people and places across Iceland and beyond, championing the enlightening effects of human-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sustainable light.

“It is our mission to support people´s needs and wellbeing and to evoke emotions that people want to feel at a specific place and time,” says Blahutová. “We want to support people in their activities regardless of the time of day or year.”

Liska: Discover Nordic lighting design Experience the magical spectrum of Icelandic light.

Outdoor spa area. Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Receive our monthly newsletter by email

    I accept the Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy