Light fantastic

The Dubai skyline at night is testament to the creative use of architectural lighting, which designers are increasingly using in a bid to outdo each other to create the city’s most eyecatching property.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  April 6, 2006

The Dubai skyline at night is testament to the creative use of architectural lighting, which designers are increasingly using in a bid to outdo each other to create the city’s most eyecatching property. The Burj Al Arab and Fairmont Hotel are prime examples of buildings that come alive after dark thanks to the innovative use of illumination. Dubai Properties has recently announced its intention to use lighting to create another dramatic icon at the launch of the Vision Tower — which will stand 51 storeys tall in Business Bay, and whose high tech, internally lit, transparent glazing, will create another luminous beacon in the city. This month, the highly specialised and technologically advanced industry of architectural lighting and illumination will be showcased at a new dedicated area of PALME 2006 (The Middle East’s professional sound, light, music, audio visual & systems integration exhibition) held at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre from April 23-25. “Lighting has become an integral part of many buildings,” says Darren Brechin, exhibitions director, “There is a high level of expertise involved in architectural lighting, and we’re delighted that many of the world’s leading authorities in the field will be here to participate in a unique forum which will feature breathtaking creative inspiration and specialised industry seminars.” A major highlight of the event will be a seminar by lighting architect Jonathan Speirs, entitled ‘The Power of Light and Architecture — the work of Speirs and Major Associates’, which will concentrate on the company’s work on the Burj Al Arab and Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin’ in London. “The eyes of the design world are on Dubai in terms of the ambitious construction projects currently being planned and built. The after-dark lit image of Dubai is of major importance to its international brand identity,” says Speirs. This is undoubtably the case, with the trend for increasingly more glamorous and glitzy colour changing displays taking off in recent years, particularly in the hospitality sector. However, considerations should also be paid to energy saving devices and how to minimise pollution into the surrounding environment. Spill light — or light pollution is now highly prevalent in Dubai. You may be surrounded by a mulititude of dazzling LEDs come nightfall, but try looking for a star and we remain disappointed.

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