Dubai, UAE: The House of Wisdom and Sharjah Mosque, along with The Nebula, Mosque of Light, The Opus by Omniyat, and Ain Dubai Plaza Bluewaters Island, are among the UAE’s outstanding architectural lighting projects that will contest for the ultimate accolade at the 8th Light Middle East Awards this week in Dubai.
The six projects are among a shortlist of 45 finalists contesting eight categories at the region’s foremost awards programme for lighting design and technology, selected out of more than 100 submissions, indicating a strong sector-specific resilience in the face of a global pandemic that still couldn’t stall the successful completion of dozens of world-class UAE projects over the last 18 months.
The winners will be celebrated among hundreds of industry professionals and colleagues during a casual setting at the conclusion of the Light Middle East exhibition on 30th September at the newly opened Lock, Stock & Barrel Business Bay.
The House of Wisdom, Sharjah Mosque, the Mosque of Light (otherwise known as Gargash Mosque), and The Nebula were each shortlisted for two categories this year, underlining their popularity among the five-strong jury panel.
All, along with Ain Dubai Plaza Bluewaters Island and The Opus by Omniyat Dubai, are among the finalists for the new flagship Lighting Design Project of the Year category that truly demonstrates the importance of designed light for the success of an entire project.
The lighting for Sharjah’s House of Wisdom was handled by Dubai-based Delta Lighting Design, and was also shortlisted for the Workplace, Education & Healthcare Lighting Design of the Year – another new category for 2021.
The House of Wisdom, a high-tech library and culture centre, set itself the bold ambition to be the key in reimagining the role of libraries in the community life of the future. As such, said Ziad Fattouh, Delta’s Managing Partner, the lighting needed take into consideration the key success factors that a library and culture centre must adhere: wisdom, trust, and transparency.
“Considering this, an innovative lighting concept was developed which envisions to support that basic layer of transparency which leads to trust and wisdom of a generation that will visit this iconic building,” said Fattouh.
“The lighting design intent seeks to create an interesting night-time impression for the building, highlighting its transparency and arousing interest, while accentuating the intricacies of the unique architecture. On the other hand, it aimed to change how one would perceive the building, both, externally and internally, by balancing light intensities of interior and exterior lighting, as well as creating several lighting scenes.”
Elsewhere, The Opus by Omniyat in Dubai’s Business Bay was a standout shortlisted entry this year, with dpa lighting consultants working closely with world renowned Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) on the architectural marvel mixed-use development.
David McNeil, Director at dpa, said the project spanned several years from concept to completion with various interesting challenges to illuminate such a unique and complicated piece of architecture.
“dpa’s challenge was to develop a unique and visually interesting lighting scheme to complement and enhance the architecture both inside and out,” said McNeil. “A critical design consideration was to ensure that the lighting equipment did not detract from or compromise the beautiful smooth flowing form of the internal void.”
Maintenance and energy were also important considerations as well as the infrastructure and integration into such an elegantly detailed façade. Added McNeil: “dpa collaborated closely with ZHA to develop a unique product to integrate seamlessly into the façade of the void.
“By day the building’s façade reflects its surroundings like a monumental mirrored sculpture; whilst at night, the void is transformed using 5,000 individually controllable 1.5W LED ‘points’ of light providing a sophisticated and dynamic lighting installation.
“Using DMX lighting controls enabled unique tailoring of the content with the LED ‘pixels’ as a creative tool to paint with light across the inner void façade.”
The Nebula installation at the entrance Dubai Design District (d3) was also shortlisted for Entertainment and Leisure Lighting Design of the Year category, comprising a stage-inspired setting in which visitors are invited to walk inside d3 from beneath a sphere-like metallic structure with reflective surfaces that create an overhead kaleidoscope-effect of facial reflections.
By night, the lighting installations, designed by Studio Mark (which is also shortlisted for another new category at the Light Middle East 2021 Awards: Best Newcomer - Design Practice) create shadows to provide a different interpretation of the kaleidoscope effect.
The project, said Courtney Mark, Design Director & Founder of Studio Mark, was all the more challenging, and special, given that it was designed, constructed, and installed amidst the global covid-19 pandemic.
“This was one of the most challenging logistical periods in recent history, and the project faced a multitude of challenges requiring skilful mastery in lighting design, equipment shipping, and logistics,” said Mark.
“The project was a masterclass in a successful design collaboration to ensure the best possible project outcome. From initial inception to the final programming, the team worked together. Lighting design binds people to a place and to each other. When light meets people where they are, magical things can happen.”
Light Middle East is the region’s premier exhibition, awards programme, and conference for lighting, design and technology, taking place for the 15th edition from 28-30 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
This year will see the largest ever German Pavilion in 15 years, alongside other exhibiting countries such as Belarus, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Spain, the USA, and of course, the UAE.
The annual showcase, along with the Light Middle East Awards is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, and also returns with the three-day THINKLIGHT conference addressing the latest trends, technologies, and opportunities in architectural lighting design in a post-pandemic world.
Dishan Isaac, Senior Show Manager for Light Middle East, said: “The Light Middle East Awards are hugely significant this year as we celebrate the lighting projects and personalities that overcame the most testing challenges in the last year and a half.”
“Despite a global pandemic, the lighting design, architecture, and construction industries came together, collaborated and delivered truly amazing projects, and the awards night’s sole aim, at the end of Light Middle East, is to celebrate excellence and the businesses that take action and make a real difference to our industry.”