The lighting experience starts on the approach to the venue with the interior glow of the architectural ‘dhow’ providing the focus. Recessed marker lights draw you towards the entrance, guiding you along the plaza and through the gobo projections that create a dynamic and visually exciting lead up. A bold design decision was made to have no specific façade lighting, allowing the interior lighting to ‘sing out’ through the glazing and accentuate the impressive architecture. A beautifully creative solution was produced using diffuse light located within the structural columns that bathe the wooden walls of the auditorium in a golden softness.
The columns appear to run full height, piercing the building levels and complimenting the interior finishes, bringing it to life at night. The bespoke LEDs in the columns are high efficiency RGBW, offering full colour change potential to meet specific show requirements. With an emphasis on indirect lighting, there were no downlights used for general lighting. Instead integrated LEDs illuminate the escalators, main lift structures and bars in an elegant yet subtle manner.
LED was used for their low power, high output and compact form for detailing, but ceiling coves throughout the promenade levels are homogenously lit with cold cathode so that the project was produced in good balance with the budget and the requirements of Dubai Green Building Code. The 2,000m2 auditorium has a lighting power density of 10.5W/m2 (plus show specific theatrical lighting) and the front of house spaces consume 4.7W/m2 for architectural lighting.
Lighting is graceful but not intrusive, perfectly suiting the specific spaces.
As a multi-format venue, Dubai Opera has the ability to transform into three modes: a theatre, a concert hall, and a ‘flat floor’ for events. The details, fixture locations and control circuits that were designed had to work across all modes. This meant painstakingly working out all of the logical control circuits for the light fixtures to feature in any of the modes, as well as working with manufacturers to design a number of bespoke light fixtures that could meet the requirements of flying walls, rotating mobile boxes, seating wagons, staging sections, and a proscenium arch which all to need to move seamlessly depending on the mode. A control system helps create a fully flexible environment, allowing the dimming of light fixtures to create scenes of varying intensity and mood, altering the look and feel of the space for different occasions and scenarios.