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 a dynamic lighting controls installation at The Oculus, an immersive arrival experience at the new Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Lighting design by Focus Lighting. Lighting controls by ETC. Photography by Ryan Fischer.
The Oculus weaves together theater, technology and architecture to transform the guests’ experience the moment they walk into the music-inspired venue. Encompassing a 140’ diameter, 35’ tall room, its design combines architectural, theatrical, and natural light to activate and unify every element in the space, including walls of live plants and several water features. In addition, the lighting team was tasked with choreographing sequences for the attraction’s eight daily shows, leveraging the clients’ musical legacy to transport guests to what feels like their very own live stage performance.
Eighteen layers of light with 4,600 points of control were designed into The Oculus, each layer controllable separately through a theatrical lighting console. The four- to- six- minute shows run over 50 times per day and are each tightly synchronized with music and multiple dynamic video and water elements. To begin choreographing their fixtures, the architectural lighting team wrote scripts for each song based on rhythm and lyrics, transitioning throughout the day to encompass music’s full spectrum of moods and emotions.
The lighting designers worked alongside the programmer building the show in 3D visualization software so they could hit the ground running when the site was ready. Once onsite, the lighting designers arranged for everyone–architects, programmers, water experts, etc.–to sit at a single control table and work together to finalize every detail of the shows (a method derived from the lighting firm’s deep-rooted theatrical lighting background). Through extensive coordination and with all its various elements working in concert, The Oculus creates an ideal welcome to the revamped hotel, connecting guests to the venue’s musical roots through a purely immersive and experiential design.
Coordination with The Oculus’ water consultant allowed the team to optimize the look of a central 8 ft-diameter waterfall, which serves as surface for light projection.
The lighting designers tracked every motion in the waterfall’s choreography to ensure lighting was correctly timed and placed.
The team built their light plot in previsualization software, allowing them to create shows preconstruction, and enabling fast and easy programming for future shows.
During The Oculus’ passive state, architectural lighting is used to showcase the room’s natural features and high-end architectural finishes.
Panels of plants at the perimeter were lit with RGBW pattern projectors and carefully integrated color-changing linear LEDs, creating a series of dynamic glowing frames.
Rather than using traditional grow lights, lighting requirements for plants are met through creative sequencing of LEDs combined with natural light from a perimeter skylight.
Six 20 ft-tall columns are backlit with custom designed RGBW LED panels with nodes on a 50mm matrix to define The Oculus’ central “stage” area.
The columns become an extension of the spectacle, running custom video content from a media server during both architectural scenes and show moments.
During the “pre-show” the porte-cochere’s ceiling medallion shift color and sparkle strobes come to life via a SMPTE trigger signaling the start of a show.