Baccarat has been creating superb-quality crystal products for 250 years, selling to royalty, celebrities, and connoisseurs of fine goods. Entering the hospitality business with its flagship hotel, a 50-story glass tower, Baccarat needed to uphold its reputation for luxury and sophistication.
To add extra sparkle to the lobby, hotel designers decided to incorporate the latest LED lights. Envisioning a wall of glowing Harcourt glasses, they asked art and technology studio Sosolimited and Hypersonic Engineering & Design for help.
Hypersonic began by devising a layout for panels and the glasses. It manufactured a wall measuring four by six meters, on which 1,824 Harcourt glasses were mounted. Behind the panels, designers mounted 40 iColor Flex LMX gen2 strands from Philips Color Kinetics. Every strand has 50 LED nodes, each corresponding to an individual Harcourt glass. Sosolimited chose the iColor Flex LMX gen2 strands because of their exceptional flexibility and brightness.
“The biggest challenge was getting the glasses to glow correctly,” said Hypersonic creative director Bill Washabaugh. “We wanted it to look like the light was emanating from within the glass. This meant channeling light through the stem, giving the bowl a warm glow, and getting the facets to really pop with light. ”
Hypersonic and Sosolimited worked closely with Philips engineers, who suggested using a reflective material to direct the light. Hypersonic used a mylar tube between the nodes and the base of the glasses, guiding the bright light of the iColor strands through the glass. Once Hypersonic had constructed the wall and lit the glasses, Sosolimited digitally programmed the light in shades of white and gold.
“Our challenge was to make it interesting and unpredictable as you walk through the space,” said Sosolimited partner John Rothenberg. “We wanted highs and lows—soft textures that are suddenly punctuated by a burst of light and animation."
The lights go through three shows over 24 hours, incorporating beautiful visual effects. On top of these background programs, different animations travel across the wall every minute. These quick visual ‘explosions’ keep the wall and dynamic. The lights also mark the passage of time - the wall is divided into four columns, which fill with color sequentially every 15 minutes.
The lobby is now a lively place that continually surprises visitors. “The feedback has been very positive,” Rothenberg said. “The doormen say guests are constantly taking pictures of the wall.”
The dazzling illumination enhances the beauty of the Baccarat crystal with creative animation, creating a compelling atmosphere for passers-by and hotel guests. A truly shining success.