Reception and Waiting Area – 1st Floor

Address: State Capitol Annex, 1051 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA
Total Square Footage: 149,500 gross sq. ft.
Proposed Project Type: Downtown boutique hotel

The Prizm

The Prizm is a downtown boutique hotel for traveling professionals and tourists visiting Baton Rouge, located in close proximity in the city’s downtown and State Capitol.

The mission of the hotel is providing a memorable stay that helps its guests and employees restore the mind-body connection through subtle immersions in nature, light and color. A variety of luminous and color environments, in which people can immerse themselves according to their current need to either relax or get energized, helps them detach from their ongoing stress and concerns, and makes them more balanced and centered, which, as a result, evokes more energy.

The design of the hotel is based on the properties of light and color found in nature, with all its variations alluding to natural biodiversity. The lighting and colors correspond to the functions of the spaces and change under different natural light conditions on different times of the day and night, enhancing the human circadian cycle. Just like in nature, the lighting in the hotel varies from dynamic and diffuse light during the day to warm, calming, and subdued indirect lighting during the night. It maximizes the use of natural light and, when necessary, enhances it with artificial lighting, designed to resemble the dynamic and diffuse light found in nature and imitate the natural light phenomena, such as light filtering through objects, hitting reflective surfaces, highlighting light objects, casting long or contrasting shadows. The variability of colors and textures, inspired by the landscapes of Louisiana and reflecting its vivid cultural life and sumptuous nature, allude to diverse natural species found in this area, creating a sense of place.

Building Exterior




Client Objectives:

  • Memorable atmosphere that restores the mind-body connection and human connection with nature
  • Spaces evoking positive psychological and physiological responses to prevent the visitors and employees of the hotel from stress and mental fatigue
  • Creating a sense of place

Design Challenges:

  • Adaptive reuse of a historic building with a complex shape, varying heights, and irregular floor layouts
  • Gloomy atmosphere of the building with its dark materials, institutional lighting, and a system of long narrow corridors leading to dark rooms on the lower floors

Design Solutions:

  • Design based on the variety and variability of light and color found in nature
  • Variety of luminous and color environments for relaxation or energizing
  • Maximization of use of natural light, enhancing the human circadian cycle
  • Mood transforming biophilic lighting patterns restoring the human connection with nature
  • Artificial lighting designed to resemble the dynamic and diffuse light found in nature
  • Luminous environments evoking various phenomena of light found in nature, such as light filtering through objects, glancing from reflective surfaces, enhancing textures, and casting irregular shadows
  • Visual cues for orientation in time and space
  • Easy access to views and outdoor spaces
  • Variability of colors and textures inspired by the landscapes of Louisiana
Floor Plans
Building Sections

Research Question

Can nature-inspired lighting, color, and material design have positive emotional and physiological impacts on human experience within the built space and enhance users’ mental well-being?

Thesis Statement

The predominantly indoor lifestyles of people in developed countries rely on artificial illumination and often disconnect them from the natural environment and even from their emotions and inner experiences. The rupture in contact with nature became one of the blocks in human well-being. Restoring this contact can help people regain internal balance and energy.

A stronger connection can be achieved by the effective use of daylighting and nature-inspired artificial lighting, color, and materials. These design elements can have a positive emotional and physiological impact on people, improving their experience within the built space and bringing them closer to their inner nature and external environment.



Human lifestyle has changed considerably over the last millennium, shifting from a mostly outdoor life to a life consisting of 90 percent of time indoors. Thanks to the invention and popularization of artificial lighting, human peaks of activity have expanded from solely a dawn to dusk scenario to almost a 24 hour span. The human body seems to be adapting very well to the change, and many people do not realize how this transition affects them. However, the amount of psychological disorders is growing and more and more people suffer from burnout, depression, heart disease, strokes, cancer, accidents, and suicide. Researchers associate it with too little exposure to natural light, air, and lack of contact with nature.

One of the major negative factors affecting our biology is our growing disconnect from the patterns of natural lighting. It has been documented that the intensity and quality of light can impact the psychological and physiological well-being of a person, affect daily mood, sleep patterns, overall outlook on life, and even a tendency to develop illness.



The antidote to this problem is the introduction of elements of biophilic lighting design, restoring the human connection with nature through repeated immersions in luminous environments, evoking various phenomena of light found in nature.

The solution developed in this project deals with many aspects of design, including psychology of lighting and color design, human mind-body connection, biophilic design and hospitality design.

The focus solutions applied include maximizing access to daylight, and using artificial lighting to stimulate natural responses of the human organism and substitute for lack of natural light.

The lighting of the hotel has been designed to help people synchronize with the natural environment, characterized by variability and diversity, in order to evoke positive psychological and physiological responses that would restore the mind-body connection and enhance the users’ well-being and create a positive experience of the space.

Presentation Board