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Yas Hotel

Yas Hotel


The striking Yas Hotel is the centrepiece of the $36 billion Yas Marina development accompanying the new Formula 1 racing circuit in Abu Dhabi. The 500-room, 85,000 square metre complex comprises two towers positioned on either side of the race track, linked together by a monocoque constructed bridge.

Inspired by forms associated with speed and movement, the unique architectural feature of the complex is the grid-shell veil covering the hotel. Constructed with 217 metres of curvilinear steel sections and 5,800 pivoting diamond shaped glass panels, the grid-shell sweeps elegantly over the towers and link bridge, visually connecting the entire complex together.

The Needs

The near constant sun in Abu Dhabi reflects elegantly off the gridshell panels during the day, creating a smooth snakeskin-like appearance. To turn the grid-shell into a breathtaking architectural display during the night required a unique solution. Each of the glass panels would need its own light source that could produce a full spectrum of colour and be dynamically controlled to create infinite lighting effects.

In addition, the light fittings would have another challenge to overcome – the harsh conditions of the Abu Dhabi desert. With temperatures reaching over 40°C and winds up to 120 km/h, the luminaires had to be able to cope with this harsh environment.

The Solution

Only LED technology could satisfy such formidable requirements. A bespoke LED fixture was developed using RGBW LEDs, which not only catered for the colour spectrum and control demands but also provided an environmentally responsible solution.

After an initial introduction to the demanding product brief, a meeting was held with lighting consultants ARUP in New York to work through the specifics of the design. Details were sent back to Cooper Lighting and Safety’s in-house design team and within two weeks, a fully working prototype was completed.

Just a few weeks later, after thorough optical and endurance testing, a full working mock-up consisting of 12 fixtures was built in the gruelling Abu Dhabi desert for final approval. As the glass panels on the hotel are mounted at different angles, each fixture was fitted with one of five micro-prismatic controllers to ensure accurate and even illumination. With some subtle design changes to optimise the illumination of the glass panels, the product was ready to do into production at Cooper Lighting and Safety’s Doncaster facility.

The company implemented a lean manufacturing clean-room environment that met the customer’s exacting standards, supported by a focused project team, which established a clear communications structure, robust quality procedures and strict supply-chain systems. This ensured the strictly defined time-frames and budgets were met and any problems eradicated early on, all with enough flexibility to adapt to any client changes through the project.

The Result

The stunning illuminated grid-shell of the Yas Hotel was unveiled at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, a fitting event symbolising technology, endurance and the passion to push the boundaries of innovation.

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