Seeing animals in the right light!
Seeing animals in the right light!
In the mid-nineties, a project brought me to the Middle East. Seeing the city in the throes of a massive construction boom, I took the plunge and relocated from the UK, seeking a piece of the action. Three decades later, I’ve witnessed and participated in the city’s phenomenal growth. Our portfolio represents this journey. Included in it are projects of every scale and dimension, some of which are Iconic. Initially palaces, residences and villas were our mainstays, and later came the hotels, hospitals and schools. And as UAE’s awe inspiring growth continued, our projects lists included some trailblazing structures like The Opus, Dubai Frame, and Capital Gate to name a few.
But that’s the excitement about being part of this country’s vision. You never know what you will have your hands in next. Who would have thought years ago that we would be retained to offer lighting solutions for the largest Safari park outside Africa!
Needless to say, we have been busy mastering the nuances of executing the design of lighting up the various spaces within a Safari to ensure a safe environment for animals, while curating an enjoyable experience for visitors!
It’s been a year in the works but UAE’s latest attraction- ‘The Sharjah Safari Park’ project is now officially part of our portfolio. And without hesitation, I can say it’s one of the most unique projects our firm has ever undertaken!
Wildlife enthusiasts are in for a treat. The Sharjah Safari Park, home to 120 different species of animals and, at 800 hectares the largest outside Africa, opened its doors last month to eager visitors after seven years in the making!
The Safari Park located in the Albridi Reserve, almost an hour from Dubai in Al Dhaid City, is to have dedicated zones where lions, giraffes and rhinos roam the vast landscape.
The IntentSophy Cave Design, a UAE based consultancy, focused on the design and production of exhibits within Visitor Centres, Museums, Art Institutions and other public spaces, has constructed the visitor experience at Sharjah Centre. Says Sophy Hughes, Creative Director, S.C.Designs, “Complementing the extensive wildlife viewing experiences are a series of Interpretation Centres and Educational Spaces. Containing a mix of graphic displays, models and interactives, each is positioned with panoramic views of key wildlife and/or the dramatic safari landscape. Elaborating on the lighting needs of the Safari Park she says, “I would say a subtle lighting intervention that balances natural and artificial light to ensure focus on exhibits, wildlife safety and a comfortable visitor experience was at the crux of the design intent. “Each location will form a primary part of the visitor experience at Sharjah Safari and it is important that each is lit well. Lighting must be intelligent, optimising visual impact as well as forming a bridge between the bright but changeable external conditions and the shaded/indoor spaces. Lighting control proposals must respond to the different functional and environmental needs of each space. Lighting must consider the comfort and safety of both visitors and the external wildlife. Artificial lighting control must be intuitive, controllable once commissioned by non-technical staff; some areas require more control than others.”
The SolutionTrack lights of varying beam angles and outputs from Precision Lighting and LEDS-C4 were used in all the interior spaces. Along with Rosco, Simes & Traxon, each area depending on the unique design and detailing developed by Light.Func we employed a combination of wall grazers, projectors, spots, etc. Erco Lightscan Flood Lights were installed outdoors to illuminate the Sharjah Safari Logo at the entrance roundabout. Each space was different and called for ingenious solutions. Helvar was used as the dimming system on the project. This was then integrated into the AV system with close coordination with the team of AVI-SPL. Perhaps the most challenging was Simba where the site conditions called for coordination with multiple contractors. Also owing to existing site conditions, pulling new control cables was not possible, so to tackle we implemented a Casambi based Bluetooth solution.
The ChallengesThe Sharjah Safari Park is probably one of the most unique and challenging projects Creation has executed. The scale of the project was enormous and involved coordination with multiple entities. “Most projects have a standard layout and an installation methodology. In this project, the theming intent was unique and each space came with its own design, interior features, and design intent. For each space, we had to adapt our methodology, accessory selection and carry out planning the execution to suit requirements. Furthermore, since there were multiple contractors that we had to coordinate with and plan with, we had to make sure all parties were always on the same page and the work was executed harmoniously.” concludes Mr. Dharmendra Patel.