Light + Design Associates light Qatar centre

Friday, 26 October 2012
Light + Design Associates light Qatar centreThe Qatar National Convention Centre
Qatar - Part of the Qatar Foundation's Education City campus, Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and RHWL Architects of Berlin, is the largest in the Middle East. Located in the fast-developing city of Doha, its myriad of facilities - theatre, three auditoria, conference hall, 40,000m2 exhibition space, nine halls, and plethora of meeting rooms - are of the highest standard with a technical specification that is world class.

Although QNCC opened in December of 2011, Lee Prince, director of lighting design consultancy firm Light + Design Associates of London, has been involved with lighting the multi-use facility since 2004. He comments, "The brief was to create a dynamic, changing environment for the various activities that take place at QNCC such as conferences, conventions, music, lectures, banquet events, etc. We've done that by using dynamic gobo projection and color change to slowly change the atmosphere and set the mood."

Prince specified Martin Professional MAC 575 pattern and colour changing moving head fixtures and Alien colour changing downlights for the venue's spacious entrance hall and VIP foyer. The VIP foyer area, a huge 280m long and 32m high space, features a stunning visual centrepiece in the form of a 250m long, curved steel structure whose shape is inspired by the Qatari Sidra tree. The tree symbolizes the Qatar Foundation's three key pillars of education, science and research, and community development. Lee has given it a dynamic drape of color and pattern using 280 MAC 575 fixtures, which are mounted in the ceiling on truss hoists.

"As it's a large glass-fronted building and passers-by can see the two huge Sidra trees from the highway, the interior lighting scheme is also the exterior lighting scheme," Prince says of the view from the Dukhan Highway through the glass fa├žade that stretches the length of the building.

"We create different moods with light from the MAC 575 fixtures dappling through the Sidra trees and onto the floor and walls in a slow undulation that fills the space. After a lecture for example, lighting changes to a warm evening sunset with reds and oranges then changes again with moonlight shades through the branches of the trees."

Various other lighting programs can be triggered including projection of Islamic patterns, i.e. tapestry on carpets, or an intense saturated red light complete with heartbeat sound effects, the heart of the building coming alive if you will. Another captivating lighting scheme involves a blue and white projection with stars that alludes to the birth of time.

"I chose the MAC 575 for its versatility and the quality of the lamp," states Prince, who also points to the importance of the fixture's compactness, as well as having various colours and gobos in one package.

The facility's 2,300-seat, multi-level theatre has been securing dates for top theatre productions like Shakespeare's Richard III. Outside the lyric theatre is a unique, patchwork mosaic wall 32 meters tall with pinprick LEDs that look like stars. Here, Martin Alien colour changers are used to cast even shades of color across the wall, saturated red for example punctuated with blue pinpoints of light.

The MAC 575 and Alien lighting fixtures were supplied for the QNCC project by Martin Professional Middle East, with whom Lee has been familiar since 2005. He stated, "It was a very good experience with Martin Middle East. They were very useful on this project and supported us at several stages along the way, including assistance on the lighting control."

(Jim Evans)

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