Minarc Awarded Prestigious 2013 SPARK Award for Innovative Net-Zero Work on ION Luxury Adventure Hotel

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Santa Monica, CA design firm receives top honor in the SPARK>Spaces EcoDesign category for its groundbreaking approach featuring an extensive use of eco-friendly, recycled materials and sustainable practices.

The ION Adventure Luxury Hotel

ION Luxury Adventure Hotel. Winner of the 2013 SPARK Award in the Spaces EcoDesign category.

Our goal was to achieve a new expression of luxury—one that is less conspicuous, more intimate, and above all eco-responsive.

Minarc, an award-winning design firm dedicated to exploring new efficiencies in building and design, has been awarded the 2013 SPARK Award in the Spaces EcoDesign category for its "net-zero" work on the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland.

SPARK is a community of designers and creative people, bound together by the idea that design can make positive change in the world. Its mission is to initiate positive design-led change by highlighting the best new ideas and solutions. The SPARK competition pays tribute to work that breaks new ground by improving the quality of life while conserving Earth’s limited resources.

This year the SPARK>Spaces EcoDesign category placed a special emphasis on the Zero Energy challenge, which is quickly becoming a sought after ideal for many buildings around the globe. Judging stressed the degree to which entries employed recycling, re-use, restorative, revitalization and waste disposal solutions into their designs.

“We are deeply honored to be awarded this year’s SPARK for our work on the ION Hotel,” said Minarc co-principal Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir. “This comprehensive undertaking required a minimalist design reflective of the region’s natural beauty, to be executed with strict consideration to the environment. In addition, our goal was to achieve a new expression of luxury—one that is less conspicuous, more intimate, and above all eco-responsive.”

The hotel incorporates innovative materials, sustainable practices, and the natural features of Iceland. An extensive use of repurposed materials—driftwood, lava, recycled rubber—are noticeable throughout the hotel, reflecting a commitment to environmental integrity. Lights and furniture in the restaurant are all reclaimed from previous use at the hotel. The RUBBiSH sink, an original design element is constructed from recycled rubber.

Most notable is the prefabricated building system used for the new extension, developed by Minarc principals Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Ingjaldsdóttir, which achieves both aesthetic and environmental objectives. Thorsteinsson explains, “It is a high-performance system that maximizes energy efficiency in a reduced carbon footprint. The panels incorporate high quality, off-the-shelf sustainable materials that have been researched, tested and selected to meet stringent quality specifications. The clean, stark panel surface is as visually dramatic as the natural Icelandic surroundings.”

Surrounding the hotel is an abundance of natural hot springs that provides guest rooms with clean, energy-efficient geothermal heating and hot water. A unique three-filter process cleans grey water (from showers, sinks and hot tub), and returns it for use on the landscape.

With its extensive use of outdoor living spaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows that capture the natural light while providing panoramic views of the environs, the wall of the ION hotel seem to part and beckon nature inside.

About Minarc

Minarc is an award winning design studio recognized internationally for its unique approach, one which embraces contemporary design, and employs innovative materials and technologies, while adhering to sustainable architectural practices and design standards. Located in Santa Monica, CA, Minarc was founded by Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir in 1999. The work of the practice ranges from small-scale renovations to new construction, in residential, commercial and public settings. Each project shares an emphasis on the unity of interior and exterior spaces through a greater utilization of natural light, establishment of outdoor living areas, and artistically incorporated views of the surrounding natural environment.

For more information about Minarc contact Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir at erla(at)minarc(dot)com or call (310) 998-8899.


The SPARK Design Awards are an international design competition series with many categories. SPARK's core mission is to help create a better world though design excellence. Spark entrants are an extraordinarily diverse group of talented people and companies, from university students, to the world’s leading electric car companies and forward-thinking Fortune 500 companies.

The SPARK competitions are open to all designers, including students (in SPARK>Concept). Learn more about this organization and all these competitions at the Spark website at http://www.sparkawards.com.

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Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir
+1 310.998.8899
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