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Casino on the Winds, Uncasville

LED Retail USA

Focus Lighting has once again collaborated with the Rockwell Group to add magic to a casino using LEDs

The design for Mohegan Sun’s new Casino of the Winds adds a new level to the deeply rooted stories of the Mohegan Tribe illustrated in the Casino of the Earth and Casino of the Sky. Working with the Rockwell Group on a series of hanging installations and elegant fixtures, Focus Lighting’s use of alternate materials makes the space far from an ordinary casino as it is rich with cultural influence and intriguing textures.

“The concept in this new space is to create a dreamy windswept landscape – an ethereal experience rather than a physical place,” says Lighting Designer Christine Hope. “The light evokes moonlight permeating through the trees on a mountaintop, or a glowing and ominous lunar eclipse.”

To achieve this natural sensibility and maximise energy efficiency, a majority of the sources are LED or Metal Halide. This allows the build up of many layers of richly coloured light from a variety of sources, and also maintains a minimal wattage per square foot.

The upper volume of the casino is laced with four visual manifestations of the North, South, East and West winds, each taking their shape from an ancient Mohegan myth. The North wind is a formation of glowing crystal clouds, the South wind consists of sculpted chrome leaf clusters, the East is a series of deep-blue, resin-coated fabric hangings and the West is a twisting spine of wooden bird wings. These different structural elements guide gamblers through the floor to the various tables, machines, bars and cafes, and all four materials converge, twisting into a tornado-like formation above the circular bar at the Casino of the Wind entryway. Slightly inset in a vast golden ceiling dome, the tornado of luminous cloud chandeliers, shining leaves, blue fabric hangings and winding wings cast a beautiful array of shadows into the dome above. The effect is otherworldly, reminiscent of the uplighting of hanging dinosaur bones in the Natural History Museum in its impression. 

The North, South, East and West winds all incorporate LEDs within their structure to create internal glow and visual appeal.

In the North wind, both warm and cool white LEDs are used within the frosted resin crystal constructs to create varying tones for each crystal chandelier. The warm and cool LEDs have separate controls so they may be tuned and adjusted, varying the moods of natural sky light which are emitted from the geometric clouds.

The South wind is arranged so that accompanying each leaf cluster, there hangs a singular chrome leaf equipped with a soft amber up-light highlighting the rest of the leaves. This glow is reflected in the twisted chrome above, and creates a line of continuity along the sparkling ribbon of metal.

In the East wind, V-shaped, resin-coated fabric is backlit with 2 strips of white LEDs, using coloured gel sleeves (r65 – a light blue) to compliment the subtle blue shades. A variety of coloured blue accents front-light the panels to bring out the textile patterns and the stiff, undulating texture of the set fabric.

Alternately, The West wind is accented from above and below, and the wings taking on a louver effect of light and shadow. From the contrast of light versus shadow alone, the wings take on a sense of movement and dynamism.

Once wandering eyes take a break from all the textural activity above the casino floor, there are a host of other fixtures and materials to appreciate at eye level.

Stacked glass columns frame the Feature Bar on the casino floor and create a focal point at the end view of the space. The columns are internally lit by white LEDs, and within the backlighting cavities are panels of thousands of hanging mirror reflectors. Air movement is created by fans at the top of the columns, moving the reflectors and creating flashes of light from the LEDs. The result is a shimmering glass column enclosure that has the feeling of water trickling down the inside of the column, presenting a beautiful spectacle of reflected white light. Additionally, the columns are externally lit by subtly coloured LEDs, which aim at the stacked edge surface to provide beautiful depth in colour and form. 

Adjacent to the Main Casino Space is a large Poker Room. Access is gained though a huge glowing portal backlit with golden neon and adorned with the same metal leaf shapes as in the South Wind.

Downlights highlight each gaming table, while decorative sconces and pendants create a glowing layer in the space. The perimeter wall is layered with patterned light creating a glowing wall covering that creates depth and enlivens the room. The back wall of the high stakes area is grazed with light from above and below, highlighting twisting wooden ribbons as a sculptural backdrop. Similar to the effect created in the West Wind with the bird-wing wooden cutouts, the warmth of the wood and the saturated tone of the light make the space dimensional and inviting.

Focus Lighting’s greatest challenge within the Casino of the Wind was to create the mysterious layered look of light and shadow that was desired, while keeping wattage levels low and maintainability high. In much of this space there are no dimming systems and the metal halide sources are controlled by colour filters and mesh screens. Every element of the lighting needed a model or mock-up, (occasionally with multiple revisions), to make sure the levels and lamping looked appropriate prior to any specification & installation.

Overall the concept is so complex and the design so theatrical, that the space really is a world of its own. Guests at Mohegan enter a realm where anything imaginable is possible. The lighting design here uniquely utilises metal halides in a dramatic and decorative application. Normally metal halide is the commercial or retail go-to lamp, incorporated as a highly efficient source for merchandise accenting, but it is used here as a way to achieve decorative lighting in a variety of architectural details.

Lighting Specified:

IO LED fixtures, Boca Flasher LED, ETC metal halide source 4 lekos, ETC metal halide source 4 pars, 15 mm neon, RSA recessed adjustable accents, Lumiere MR16 Uplights, Times Square Metal Halide MR16 adjustable track heads, Times Square Low Voltage MR16 adjustable track heads


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