WBD leads lighting upgrade at Bahrain International Circuit


March 30, 2021

Woodroffe Bassett Design (WBD) recently designed and delivered a new lighting and video installation on the façade of the Sakhir Tower at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in time for the first Grand Prix of the Formula One season. The circular viewing tower is the centrepiece of the BIC and has become a key visual element of the television broadcast of the race, seen all over the world.

The design of the scheme enhances the night-time drama of the track illumination installed in 2014 and follows the original visual concepts that were developed in collaboration with architectural design practice Stufish in London five years ago.

The dynamic and colour-rich scheme is a deliberate counterpoint to the myriad of powerful white lights that illuminate the track during the night races. The design explores the geometry of the spectacular building and articulates its elegant circular form, but also gives the tower a dynamic that reflects the speed and power of the motorsport that literally surrounds it.

The content that plays on the tower was developed by Dandelion and Burdock in London and is a mixture of Bahraini cultural elements, abstract patterns, FIA and F1 related logos and schedule information. This plays out over the period of the race weekend, building to a climax for the race itself. Particular care has been given to avoid distracting the drivers when they are on the track to the point that no red, yellow or green content plays during the race to avoid being mistaken by the drivers as part of the FIA warning lights.

The technical system design by Standard Vision of Los Angeles comprises bands of high-resolution LED panels fitted to the front of the handrails and sun louvres on each of the 7 x levels of the tower. As the diameter of the balconies increases as the tower rises, the fittings for every panel are of a unique dimension.
The system was initially programmed through a D3 server from disguise. It is then run on a permanent basis from Standard Vision’s bespoke media server, SV Runner.
A complementary lighting system is fitted to the sail canopy that tops the tower and the sun shade on the ground floor. 48 x Aquabeam spots are fitted at the ends of each point of the canopy and form a dynamic moving lighting display. A further 48 x Studio Due T-Bright LED floods underlight the canopy itself, while Studio LED PARs wash the top of the structure. All these fixtures are matched in colour and tempo to the video content below.

Designer Patrick Woodroffe comments: “The Sakhir Tower has had a second wind! Not only does the installation give us a fresh understanding of the elegance and circularity of Herman Tilke’s design, but it also brings a completely new dynamic to the building and subsequently an energy and a purpose that is felt across the whole circuit.”

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LSi online

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