dpa lighting designs The Constellation for The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi
dpa lighting company has designed The Constellation, a landmark public artwork that forms the centrepiece of The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, a permanent national tribute to the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The artwork was conceptualised and designed by artist Ralph Helmick, whose practice explores human perception through large-scale public sculptures and installations that invite optical discovery. The project was led by a team of dpa lighting directors, Barry Hannaford, David McNeil, Lee Sweetman.
dpa collaborated closely with the artist at both his studio in Boston and during the extensive lighting trials that were conducted in Abu Dhabi to achieve the optical visual performance of the lighting scheme that enhances this artwork.
One of the biggest challenges was the task of conceptualising and developing a lighting scheme that would highlight the unique artwork from multiple viewing angles, while retaining the subtle complexity and depth of the sculpture.
The Constellation consists of over 1,300 geometric shapes suspended from more than 1,000 tension cables. These elements constitute varying sizes of the five different types of regular, convex polyhedrons known as ‘platonic solids’, which are renowned for their mathematical beauty and symmetry. In order to achieve three dimensional rendition of the sculpture at night, 753 downlights and 1,203 uplights were custom made to illuminate the sculpture from above and below. Each fixture is fitted with a 3.5w warm white LED and integral DMX control, which enables the exact tailoring of the lighting scheme to respond to the differing textures and forms of the individual and collective solids that make up the artwork.
The Constellation is situated within the landscape of The Founder’s Memorial, which features plants indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, an elevated walkway offering breathtaking views of the city, and a Welcome Centre with a state-of-the-art multimedia experience.
Photos: Alex Jeffries Photography Group