While some in the architectural community consider the Sheikh Zayed Bridge to be among the most intricately constructed, for others it’s the vivid lighting scheme that makes this structure a stand-out.
Ideas for illuminating the bridge began over a decade ago when colored illumination was promoted by Nour Assafiri, CEO of lighting manufacturer Martin Professional Middle East, to the municipality of Abu Dhabi. Officials liked the idea and asked the bridge’s renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, to consider the concept.
The bridge, which soars to a height of 196 feet and stretches for one-half mile, connects mainland Dubai to the island of Abu Dhabi, soaring above the Maqta channel and serving as a gateway to the UAE’s capital city. Continue reading
Named after the country’s former president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the bridge’s curved arches are distinguished by a dynamic lighting design that utilizes 204 Martin Exterior 600™ and 130
Martin Exterior 200™ color-changing luminaires plus 956 Martin Cyclo 01™ linear fluorescent fixtures. The bridge consists of a linear deck with a waveform spine of three main arches that are illuminated by colored light that extends both above and below the road level. Customized Martin Cyclo fixtures were fitted in lighting cells underneath the deck of the bridge to provide white light. The lighting control system is centered around a Martin Maxxyz Compact™ lighting console – which is used for lighting programming – with a Martin M-PC used for control of daily lighting scenes.
The shifting colored light that smoothly flows across the bridge is a lighting design based on two principles. First, it is a metaphor for energy flowing across the water, visualized by colored light cross-fading from one shade to another while simultaneously moving along the bridge’s spine. Second, the lighting makes the spine appear three-dimensional at night by projecting different colors on horizontal and vertical surfaces in a way that articulates its spatial structure.
The control system allows the lighting scenarios to be customized to celebrate religious traditions, festivities, and public events. For example, with the new moon the bridge lighting mimics the inspiring Martin nighttime illumination of the landmark Grand Mosque, which sits nearby. Once a month, both iconic structures appear tinted in deep blue to create a sense of urban and cultural connectivity.
Rogier van der Heide, chief designer and vice president at Philips Lighting, and previous director at Hollands Licht and Arup Lighting, created the original lighting design concept. “The lighting design of this project was incredibly complex,” he explains. “I had to integrate color-changing technology, dust- and waterproof equipment, a very advanced control network, and special optics into a single holistic solution to realize the creative design.”
Martin Professional’s Middle East office was instrumental in executing the design and realizing the final effect. The lighting design was further detailed with an international design team at Arup. The final project phases, including programming of 13 artistic scenarios, were led by Simone Collon, Arup’s lighting designer.
“Without the tremendous contribution of Martin Pro Middle East and High Point Rendel [which accomplished the electrical engineering], this project could not have been done,” van der Heide says. “The successful finalization of this project demonstrates how important it is to collaborate and how architectural lighting has evolved into a holistic discipline that brings together designers, manufacturers, and engineers in an integrated process.”