Read the official press release here!
2000, Zaha Hadid made a phone call to Rogier van der Heide to ask if he could design the lighting for her future master piece, Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi. The bridge spans Al Maqta and connects Abu Dhabi and Dubai with four traffic lanes in each direction. Equally important, Sheikh Zayed Bridge is a symbol for the prosperity and ambition of the city of Abu Dhabi, bringing together local culture and international design excellence.
Using a wooden model and miniature lights, Rogier van der Heide developed the lighting design for the 850 meter long bridge in his signature crafted and artistic way. After that, his studio produced countless technical drawings, depicting for each of the over 200 automated lights their optical and focusing details. Other elements of the lighting design are the road lighting, carefully specified not to disturb the flowing colours of the feature lighting, the dynamic cell lighting underneath the deck of the bridge, and fixed lighting to light up the top sides of the arches.
Rogier van der Heide also designed a complex control scheme, based on a fiber glass backbone, a fully redundant network and industry standard ArtNet, branching out across the bridge to the > 200 colour changing luminaires. Finally, in collaboration with Zaha Hadid, Rogier designed the lightmasts that support both the roadway lighting as well as the feature lighting.
The lighting design for Sheikh Zayed Bridge is multi-layered and large scale, and could only be carried out in collaboration with others. Arup Lighting, of which at the time Rogier van der Heide was Director and Global Leader, performed a validation of the product specification for the feature lighting, and later on was responsible for the commissioning on site. Focusing and programming were performed by Martin Pro Middle East and Lichtpunt of Groningen, Netherlands. See their video below for more impressions!
I owe big thanks to Bob van der Klaauw of Lichtpunt, for finalizing the lighting on site, and to Nour Assafiri and his team at Martin Pro Middle East, without whom this amazing lighting project would not have been realised.
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Lighting Design: Rogier van der Heide
Lighting specification validation and commissioning on site: Arup Lighting
Systems integration: Martin Pro Middle East
Commissioning on site: Lichtpunt
Feature Lighting Products: Martin Pro Middle East
Roadway Lighting Products: Philips Lighting
Photography: Christian Richters