S&S looks at how the Dubai Mall is changing the face of shopping entertainment and is using a host of sophisticated multimedia systems to make it a global destination for retail leisure.
The Dubai Mall, one of the world's largest shopping and entertainment destinations, developed by UAE-based real estate developer Emaar Properties PJSC, will open its doors this month drawing fashion and multimedia enthusiasts from far and wide.
The US $20 billion mega-project located in Downtown Burj Dubai will open on October 30, and give rise as the new frontier in shopping mall entertainment, while delivering technological concepts that are a first for the region.
With a total site area more than12.1 million sqft, the mall's expansive dimensions in all its various construction components are truly epic in proportion.
The structural steel used in the Dubai Mall is double that deployed for the Eiffel Tower (7300 tonnes), and the stone and tile works of 1.2 million sqft are approximately 18 times the size of a football field measuring 69,000 sqft. The net leasable floor area is equivalent to the size of 50 football fields put together.
The mall hosts a number of "world-class attractions", including an epic-sized aquarium that contains some 33,000 species of marine life featuring 400 sharks and rays. A 180-degree tunnel runs through the tank, which can hold 10 million litres of water. The Discovery Centre above is an educational centre and has interactive stations with marine life.
Other key attractions include the region's first SEGA indoor theme park covering 76,000 sqft; the world's largest indoor Gold Souk; a 440,000 sqft fashion precinct; an 80,000 sqft children's 'edu-tainment' centre; a 22-screen cineplex; an Olympic-size ice rink; and The Grove, which features an indoor-outdoor streetscape with fully retractable roof
Adding to this, the mall has more than 14,000 undercover car parking spaces and is adjoined by a luxury five-star hotel boasting 250 rooms and 450 serviced apartments - the project has been no small feat.
The main contractor for the construction of the Dubai Mall was Dutco Balfour Beatty and Al Ghandi CCC. While, DP Architects Pte Ltd (Singapore) were the main architects and the project managers were Turner Construction International.
Danny Barnycz, the CEO of US-based The Barnycz Group, was chosen to head the lighting design and sound engineering for the mall's multimedia systems, except for Fashion Avenue where all the sound engineering has been constructed by Shen Milson and Wilke via Barco.
Barnycz worked with a team of world-class technologists, systems designers, experienced architects, artists, engineers and content creators in order to develop a unique and highly sophisticated entertainment project.
Employing some of the most sophisticated multimedia and surround sound systems ever seen in a shopping mall; the displays taking pride of place, include a 20m x 10m high definition Barco12mm ILite 12 SMD LED screen that overlooks the ice rink, a fully retractable LED-clad catwalk in Fashion Avenue and the 22m wide Treasury Dome.
The Treasury Dome is capable of projecting images in planetarium format and is supported by a host of Sony SXRD projectiors supplied by Al Ahmadiah.
The Dubai Mall general manager, Yousif Al Ali, says in total, the project features more than 400 high-definition LCD screens and more than 600 advertising panels, including 40 premium panels of 11m x 4m dimension, prominently located along the mall's main thoroughfares and public spaces.
"Customers demand a different shopping experience from malls, particularly in the Middle East where malls have become lifestyle and entertainment destinations. The colourful displays, the sounds and the buzz of activity are all key to creating a vibrant mall environment," he informs.
"The integrated multimedia network at The Dubai Mall will be an audio-visual spectacle that will keep visitors constantly entertained and stimulated. It will be unlike anything ever seen or experienced in a shopping mall."
To manufacture and fit-out the mall with all of its technology, Al Ali says the expertise of Martin Middle East and Bond Communications were called upon to deliver the lighting requirements for the multimedia components.
"There are a variety of specific fixtures that have been installed to ensure the multimedia systems at The Dubai Mall rival that of any large scale mall development in the world. Emaar Malls has worked closely with The Barnycz Group in specifying all fixtures.
To head-up the live performance lighting fixtures, Al Ali says a host of Martin fixtures have been deployed throughout the Ice rink and Treasury Dome precincts chosen for their reliability and quality.
To ensure the mall's audio is broadcast in high-quality sound throughout its entire vicinity, Al Ali says The Dubai Mall worked with a variety of manufacturers and suppliers to insure the right mix of audio-visual equipment was installed.
Some of the key audio brands that are showcased throughout the precincts are Meyer Sound, Tannoy and Renkus Heinz.
Given the multiplicity of entertainment attractions featuring innovative multimedia components, Al Ali says to install such a sophisticated mall-wide system requires a variety of manufactures, suppliers and engineers working cohesively to deliver the best and latest cutting-edge technology to the public.
Among the high-end equipment that has been deployed in and around the mall's fashion precincts is a fully-retractable LED-clad catwalk at Fashion Avenue developed by Bond Communications, with eight Barco LED Columns of 2msq 6mm ILite 6XP SMD encircling the stage, five Barco video rings each 7.5m in diameter and 0.5m height, 10mm Olite 510 SMD, offering a total tubular display of 59msq, that are lowered from above and is all synchronised to a world-class sound system.
All of the video features in the mall, except from the DMX controlled Fashion Avenue catwalk stage display, the video feeds to the Dubai Mall Hotel, the Lake Hotel and the Burj Dubai, are fed through the main control room delivered by Barco by a wide selection of best fit for purpose components including, amongst others, multiple Barco Encores and a full size Barco Encore Controller.
All video features are continuously monitored by eight full-HD Barco LCS-42 inch LCD displays in the main control room, the 'beating heart' of the multimedia system, according to Barco.
The 250-metre-long retail avenue known as The Grove, features a retractable roof system that can open and close within three minutes allowing control of the environment inside using the latest "transfer technology".
Made of glass PTFE tensile fabric and weighing almost 100 tonnes, the roof's panels roll over each other on a series of rails opening the roof; when the roof is closed the panels stack-up on top of one another keeping out any undesired weather elements.
What's more, the rails holding the sliding sections are made with such fine tolerances that the tracking will never vary by more than 0.5mm.
The Dubai Mall's resident architect, Ho Kok Siang, together with DP Architects' design director Ti Lian Seng designed and developed the roof system in the company's Singapore office and during which period they also worked with specialist consultants from Meinhard Façade Technology and Meinhardt (Singapore) Consultants Ptd Ltd.
The roof is controlled by a hydraulic system similar to that found in telescopic boom cranes, which allows roof panels to close/open in unison compared to a rack and pinion system where each panel would need to unlock and move into position one at a time.
Ho Kok Siang explains that glass PTFE tensile fabric is used to allow natural light to transmit into the space below. This will transform into naturally diffused light with faint shadows, softly illuminating the street. White colour is selected for the fabric, which will reflect most of the solar energy and minimise the influx of heat into the shopping precinct during the day.
The Dubai Mall introduces several new leisure concepts to the region and is expected to draw up to 30 million visitors in its first year of opening alone.
20 x Meyer Sound MICA
7 x Meyer Sound Milo 120
8 x Meyer Sound 600-HP
6 x Meyer Sound PSW-2
30 x Meyer Sound M1D
6 x Meyer Sound M1D Sub
6 x Meyer Sound UPA
6 x Meyer Sound UPjunior
15 x Meyer Sound MJF-212A (7 in the Ice Rink and 8 in Fashion Atrium)
18 x Meyer Sound UM-1P
9 x Meyer Sound SB-2
Tannoy CMS801 DC
Tannoy DI6 DCT
Renkus Heinz Iconyx
18 x Mac 2000 Profile
18 x Mac 2000 Wash
1 x Maxxyz Desk Controller
56 x Mac 2000 Profile in white colour
1 x Maxxyz Desk Controller
3 x Maxxyz Compact
Barco: 7 Grand Drive LED Displays, 7.4m² 12mm Olite 612 SMD each
Barco: Fashion Catwalk LED Displays: 5 Rings, 7.5m diameter 0.5m height each, 10mm Olite 510 SMD, offering a total tubular display of 59m2 display + 8 Columns of 2m2 6mm ILite 6XP SMD
Barco: Ice Rink LED Display: 19.2x9.8m (188m2) indoor 12mm ILite 12 SMD
DS Multi Media: Link Bridge LED Displays: 10.8mm SMD
Inwood: Fashion Catwalk Stage LED Display 20mm
16 x ChainMaster BGV-C1 800kg standard hoist
20 x ChainMaster BGV-C1 500kg climbing hoist