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048 PROJECT / CROWN CASINO, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA


When the IALD assembled in April this year to reveal the recipients of the association’s annual Lighting Design Awards, the winning list proved one of the most diverse to date, both in terms of their technical focus and geographical spread of the ten projects highlighted. Among the practices honoured was Electrolight, whose work on the Crown Casino Complex in Melbourne earned an Award for Excellence.


The Crown project was notable for the lighting designers’ high level of involvement in developing the very structure of the built environment, specifically the creation of a new eastern entry façade and porte cochere.


The process began in 2010 when the owners of the entertainment complex instigated a program to refresh their image. Opened in 1994, the site comprises a casino, luxury hotel, five-star restaurants, bars and retail offerings. Under new plans a new entrance would be created at the eastern end of the complex, extending its footprint and creating a new façade that would project an image of luxurious glamour. The challenge was to light the façade while accentuating the richness of the faceted glass and sumptuous sandstone elements. The Casino’s original architect Bates Smart was contracted to design the new elements.


They suggested a pavilion constructed in rippling glass and stone, one that would curve round the Casino Hotel tower forming a new unified podium at its base. The materials for the project were meticulously chosen to create the right look. Blocks of Indian Teak sandstone were individually selected from a quarry in Jaiupur, India, and then sent to Queensland for cutting. The colour, patina and pattern of veins were all considered before each piece was allocated a place on the façade. The end result is a precisely engineered, subtle gradation of colour that sweeps across the new struc- ture.


Curved, corrugated and smooth glass panels with scalloped surfaces were designed to continue the rhythmic line set by the sand- stone panels. The intention was to create a jewel-like box that reflects light and cast shadow in a way that presents the casino’s stylish character to Queensbridge Street streetscape and the Yarra River promenade. Melbourne-based lighting design firm Elec- trolight was asked to design specialist light- ing for the new podium structure as well as considering the surrounding landscaping. Their brief was to work closely with the architect to create a lighting scheme that did justice to the façade design. Electrolight faced the challenge of lighting


Turned-back electrodes were specified for the cold cathode lighting to give a completely unbroken line of light the exact length of the façade, from top to bottom. Low-power cold cathode (20mA) was chosen over LEDs due to its omnidirectional light distribution, colour appearance, lamp life and cost.


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