The Chandelier bar at The Cosmopolitan netted the top honor in the 2012 SOURCE Awards last month
Imagine climbing into a spectacular crystal chandelier and you’ll have some idea of the ambiance that Chandelier conveys to patrons. Forming the centerpiece of the relatively new Las Vegas resort and casino The Cosmopolitan – a property made famous with ubiquitous TV commercials hinting at decadence and opulence – the Chandelier bar is the first structure people notice when entering the casino. Spanning 44 feet high and approximately 75 feet wide, this commanding, functional chandelier boasts three seating levels that can accommodate 500 guests among the five separate bars and lounges.
At a glance, you might think a chandelier this size would be made of thousands of clear pieces of pressed acrylic in order to be cost-effective – and you would be wrong. Not only is every sparkling shape made of crystal, but there are more than seven million pieces ranging in size from ¾-inch to 1.5-inches. “The crystals were custom-fabricated for the project to create details that can be appreciated from the initial long view as well as the more intimate up-close view,” comments principal lighting designer Paul Gregory of New York City-based Focus Lighting, which tackled the lighting design and achieved the highest honor for the Professional Commercial category in Cooper Lighting’s 2012 SOURCE Awards.
Focus Lighting and fellow Manhattan-based architectural firm Rockwell Group collaborated on the concept for the chandelier feature bar. “We wanted to create an elegant and truly unique environment,” Gregory states. “The clients loved the idea and were very involved in the development. Key players from their team attended each mockup and gave valuable input and feedback along the way. “
The biggest challenge that the expert team faced was to give the illusion of a single, internally lit chandelier while supplementing it with enough illumination to achieve sparkle in every delicate strand. “To fully sculpt this complex form, each layer of material was addressed individually, and the cumulative effect is rich and mesmerizing,” explains Christine Hope, senior lighting designer at Focus Lighting. “The large swags of crystal are grazed by layers of white light. The difficult part was achieving the glitter and sparkle we wanted with the right lighting positions and angles. Each drape is lit by multiple accents from three or four different positions, so that a person standing at any point on the casino floor or hotel concourse will see light refracting through the crystal,” she remarks. “Each lighting position was studied in plan and section, and then mocked-up on-site to review aiming angles and to ensure that the chandelier was well-lit while not being uncomfortable for guests whether they are inside or outside of the space.”
The lighting designers employed 150 Lumière 203 luminaires, selected because of the model’s low profile and simplicity. These fixtures uplight all of the vertical drapes of the crystal while RSA multi-head fixtures are installed vertically in the perimeter soffit to provide multiple points of warm, beautiful front light.
The three-story inner core features 700 crisp white dimmable LEDs mounted within a shimmering liquor tower and illuminated glass stairs, creating a strong contrast to the colors playing on the delicate crystal swags. Within the heart of the chandelier, tight pools of halogen downlights are focused on the bar top to create an atmosphere of warmth.
The central chandelier form also offers a unique canvas for color washes and video projection. There are 228 RGB LED accent lights that line the edge of the cantilevered floor slab, grazing both the crystals and an additional layer of vinyl-coated aircraft cord used as a semi-transparent projection screen. Through a combination of color motion and controlled sparkle, visitors are able to experience vastly different moods as the chandelier transitions from day to night.
“We developed scenes that evoke different aspects of nature as we conceived of the shows and color palettes that would create the shifting moods in the bar,” Hope remarks. “There is a transition from day to night as the feature bar reacts to the crowd in the casino; the feeling is open, expansive, and transparent during the day, but then becomes more sultry, mysterious, and exclusive at night. “
Within the giant structure are five distinct bars that are unique in feeling, color palette, and even signature drinks. The lighting selected for each both supports and enhances the individual and distinctive moods. At the casino floor, large decorative fixtures create an overall warmth and ambiance to draw guests inside to relax. At the mezzanine level, an intimate space is carved out within the center of the chandelier.
“The layer of stretched white strings just inside the crystal form adds structure to the organic shape while creating an ideal canvas for light and projection,” Gregory explains. “We lined the edge of the floating mezzanine floor slab with color-changing LED accents that graze the strings, bathing them in vibrant light. The halogen crystal accents were purposely focused away from them so as not to dilute the intensity of color we were able to achieve. Each LED accent along the inner and outer layers of string is individually addressed, so that colors can be mixed in a myriad of ways, creating a constantly changing feeling within the space.”
It’s not often that a bar becomes the centerpiece of a brand new, luxurious casino floor, however visiting Chandelier is perhaps the best gamble you can take in Las Vegas.
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