Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque (also known as the Grand Mosque) has been highly regarded for its architectural significance, but more recently it has been praised for its sophisticated lighting.
British lighting architects, Speirs and Major Associates, undertook the project, which has seen it awarded international accolades for its design, including two Middle East Lighting Design Awards - Project of the Year and Best Public Building Lighting Project.
The ambitious project employs a large ETC ACN network for remote device management as well as Congo v5 software control systems, ETC Matrix Mk II SineWave dimming and several hundred of ETC's Source 4 fixtures.
A range of lighting from Martin Professional has been installed, including the Exterior 1200, 600 and 200 range and Inground 200 luminaires.
Erco Lighting also features in the Grand Mosque primarily for its Stella and Beamer IP67 range, as does Louis Poulsen Lighting for its Nimbus Inground fixtures, which are used to light niches and columns. To give ambience to the mosque's domes ETC Source 4 Par's and Meyer Superlight f150w CDM flood fixtures with blue glass were used.
The Qibla Prayer wall features products from US manufacturer Fiberstar Inc, and UK based Crescent Lighting, including the CRE 068 illuminator and Fibre Channel Quad.
The concept of the brief was to create an inspirational lighting display appropriate to the iconic civic building, both externally and internally, and to emphasise its standing as a gateway into the city. To achieve this Speirs and Major specified the installation of building-wide ETC dimming and control systems.
“Given the scale and the sophistication of the control system we required, we knew there were very few people who could manage it properly. It needed to be a company who were able to think laterally when faced with complex and unique problems and we knew ETC had the flexibility and brainpower to deal with it," said Keith Bradshaw, associate director at Speirs and Major.
“ETC's product reliability is self-evident, but there is just something about the mentality of its people and their background; we knew they could handle something of this scale."
Accommodating more than 40,000 worshippers in its prayer halls and courtyard, the Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in UAE and one of the largest in the world, covering an area of more than 22,000 square metres.
Internally, the lighting celebrates all the architectural details and features, while providing a level of functionality for reading and prayer, as well as being suitable for TV broadcasting. The sophisticated lighting strengthens the mosque's impressive interior design, which incorporates Italian white marble, inlaid floral designs and gold mosaics and, in the main prayer hall, the world's largest hand-woven Persian carpet.
After 10 years in the making, the Grand Mosque is arguably one of the most important architectural buildings in modern UAE society and materials were sourced from all over the world to ensure the building was finished to the highest quality.