Tag Archives: Alila Diwa

Jung vs. Tanizaki

Light and dark possess powerful connotations for the figures of psychologist Carl Jung and novelist Jun’ichiro Tanizaki. Jung wrote that “the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being;” Tanizaki that “were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.” The views of these two may not conflict to such an extent as they first seem, however.

Tanizaki

“[W]e orientals [ ] tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the progressive westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light – his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow.”

– Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

Alila Diwa Resort, Goa (Photographer: Ali Rangoonwala)

Alila Diwa Resort, Goa (Photographer: Ali Rangoonwala)

With his seminal essay In Praise of Shadows (In’ei Raisan), Jun’ichiro Tanizaki pleaded on behalf of the virtues of natural, soft light as opposed to the bright, all-illuminating electrical lighting that he associated with a western capitalist aesthetic. Light is not, to Tanizaki, simply bright or dim. It contains also aspects of gleam or glitter, various kinds of illumination of which we ought to be mindful. Even when light can be said to be defective, as a patina on silver or a knot in an otherwise straight grain of a piece of wood is “defective,” the appreciation of that defect becomes of greater importance than its rectification or obscuration. This view relates closely to another distinctly Japanese aesthetic: “wabi-sabi,” an emanation of Buddhist philosophy that values impermanence and asymmetry as aspects of “the inherent beauty of imperfection.”

Jung

“Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. In spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”
– Carl Jung

Blue Frog Mumbai (Photographer: Fram Petit)

Blue Frog Mumbai (Photographer: Fram Petit)

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. Jung may have been hastily interpreted, however, if he is taken as abhorring darkness. Jung in fact implied that light begets dark—the two are inseparable and interdependent. “Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,” he argued in The Philosophical Tree, “but by making the darkness conscious.” The suggestion herein is that symbolic “light” is of value; however, it cannot be engendered without darkness, and sometimes darkness can be even more revealing than light.

Darkness & Light in Design

These aesthetic principles proclaiming the equal importance of the dark and the light are readily applicable to architecture, as two AWA projects exemplify. In the BlueFROG Club, the focus is on music and sound, and the shadowy environment accentuates it—while also creating a cool, mysterious ambiance to suit the space’s intended audience.

In the Alila Diwa Resort in Goa, India, shadow dramatizes a romantic, exclusive atmosphere. Vernacular architecture incorporated into the resort is lent an aura of mysticism by the dark, as in the upper reaches of a high ceiling or in the regular bays along a colonnade. Often, less really is more, as darkness adds to the poetry and soul of a project.

Blue Frog Mumbai (Photographer: Fram Petit)

Blue Frog Mumbai (Photographer: Fram Petit)

In the Alila Diwa Resort in Goa, India, shadow dramatizes a romantic, exclusive atmosphere. Vernacular architecture incorporated into the resort is lent an aura of mysticism by the dark, as in the upper reaches of a high ceiling or in the regular bays along a colonnade. Often, less really is more, as darkness adds to the poetry and soul of a project.

Alila Diwa Resort Goa (Photographer: Ali Rangoonwala)

Alila Diwa Resort Goa (Photographer: Ali Rangoonwala)

Showcase: Alila Diwa Goa

AWA is pleased to showcase its work on Alila Diwa Goa, a sought-after destination for serenity and relaxation among a richly verdant atmosphere.  Tradition Goan design provides the foundation for its contemporary elegance.  Amenities such as culinary exquisite dining areas, spas, and a lap pool, craft this enclave of exclusivity for the most discerning guests.  This 200-room resort has four bars/restaurants, a conference facility, a health spa and two swimming pools.

AWA was chosen because we can engage in designing a “hand-crafted” project where the lighting design is a bespoken solution for the project in question, and not recycled design ideas from other projects.  We were also chosen because of our experience set in different parts of the world- US, Middle-East, South Asia and the Far-East. We had completed a few high-end hospitality projects internationally, and we could develop and relate our designs to the local settings.

Positioned to capture the essence of the Alila Diwa experience, AWA sought to create a fully immersive experience in which illumination, from the full plan to the material of the light fixtures, would capture each guest’s curiosity with a display beauty, and emphasize the serenity, luxury and romance ever-present in the resort.  In tandem with this design intent, the project was to attain green globe status through balanced utilization and preservation of local resources, and through reduction of light pollution.

The LED Train

LEDs recently stole the show at the annual Lightfair conference in Philadelphia. Linda Lentz, writing for Architectural Record, said, “the quality and range of white LEDs is equaling that of many other light sources, and there are LED solutions for just about every application.” While this has been a breakout year for LEDs, at AWA we’ve been incorporating the technology into our designs for years before they came into fashion. Part of our commitment to the space is to implement technologically sophisticated design. And, this means we were on the LED train before it hit the mainstream. From INFOS in 2002 to 3 W. 13th Street in 2005 to Peak Tower in 2006 to Alila Diwa in 2010, LEDs have been creatively sourced and specified where appropriate. Beginning with color-changing applications and moving toward white light sources, we have been researching LEDs since we started in 2002 when we bought two sample sets of LEDs from a manufacturer. Because of our technical bent we have been soldering, wiring and playing with optics and distribution for years. Prediction? White light LED will continue to be specified where appropriate for the project and the client, but it is not a panacea for all architectural lighting challenges.