The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.
This month, we explore an innovative installation of lighting and controls to create a dynamic building facade at the MGM in Cotai, Macau. Lighting and control design by Illuminating Concepts. Photography by Lumen8shun Photography; videography by Acclaim Lighting Asia.
The hotel tower’s elegant exterior façade consists of eight stacked, cantilevering “jewel boxes” in an abstract sculptural form based on Chinese imagery. The lighting design’s intent was to make the façade’s silver, gold, and copper powder-coated aluminum finishes glow with an elegant, distinctive presence among the other highly-lit structures nearby.
Challenges came in lighting the façade’s large surface area, with no setback to light it from. The solution was to integrate and conceal lighting fixtures within the façade’s architectural and decorative curtainwall mullions. Additional requirements for minimal building penetrations and a restricted power budget dictated a bespoke lighting fixture that is remotely discoverable, individually controlled, and can be regularly queried as part of a building-wide status report.
The lighting designer and manufacturer customiz ed a series of light fixtures to add RDM and monitoring capabilities, and coordinated cable routing and fixture mounting with the curtainwall fabricator. Over 48,000 individual fixtures are integrated into the decorative window mullions, lighting each mullion upward to highlight the varied façade patterns. Custom IP66-rated RDM repeaters allow up to 90 fixtures per home-run, minimizing the number of building penetrations.
Each fixture features a unique address, allowing the control system to report on fixture health and flag fixtures for easy replacement. The control system allows the owner to balance individual fixture intensity to evenly illuminate the architectural features. An astronomical timeclock synchronizes with changing sunrise/sunset times throughout the year, providing both energy savings and a consistent brand presentation. Individual fixture control allows the façade to display low- resolution video, adding a dramatic, kinetic element to the façade when desired.
Through a combination of power supply tuning and discrete fixture control, the overall power load for façade lighting was reduced more than 50%. It is the first private sector project to achieve China Green Building (Macau) Design Label Certification.