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Barr Al Jissah Resort, Muscat, Oman

Issue 39 Oct / Nov 2007 Retail : Hotel


Lighting Design Partnership International picked up the melda Middle East Project of the Year for their work on the Barr Al Jissah Resort in Muscat, Oman. Here, Lawrie C Nisbet of LDPi explains the challenges that had to be overcome for this mammoth project.

The sheer scale of the project, both in terms of design and co-ordination, was a huge challenge that required a dedicated resource over the period of four years from concept through to completion. The main considerations were to produce a design that took into account both the differing architecture and interior solutions and the requirement to produce stand-alone dedicated outlets serving the city of Muscat. The design solutions also had to meet the aspirations of both the client group Zubair and operator Shangri-La International. On this scale the resultant specification had to be realistic to both energy use and maintenance issues throughout.
The drama and sequencing of architectural space and form created by WATG (concept architects) and Atkins (design architects) were firmly anchored in the vernacular architecture of this area. This lent perfectly to fully integrated lighting solutions that avoided visible source and allowed artificial light to react and interplay with form and material. It is this design ethos that successfully visually unifies the resort.
The integration of a colour palette drawn from indigenous elements was also successful. The appropriate colour palette was site tested to ensure correct rendering of the multitude of finishes and materials.
The inclusion of decorative lighting features and elements assist in visually punctuating and signing the resort activities as one moves through the sequence of spaces and forms. The design was always conscious of the importance of visual unity while maintaining sufficient visual interest to ensure both a pleasant night-time experience and visual guidance.
Specials were limited to decorative elements and the specification driven by reliable international product that could be readily supplied and ‘called-off’. This was coupled with sufficient local representative support to ensure enduring support for the operator. The luminaire specifications, especially externally, had to sustain high continuous operating temperatures and a highly corrosive environment.
Brief and Challenges
The brief was for a comprehensive lighting solution to all aspects of the resort, both externally and internally. The resort is located in a unique natural location around natural headland and beach and, as such, the lighting solution had to be sympathetic to its natural environment yet meet the commercial demands of a dedicated high end resort of high occupancy and usage. The main beach front is a natural heritage site as a breeding ground for turtles. Turtles navigate by moonlight and it was essential that the lighting solution did not interfere with their ability to navigate. The resultant solution avoids any visible white light to the beach side along with designing out of visible glare.
Throughout the design process the local conservation and turtle experts were consulted on the development of the lighting solution and the success can be measured in the fact that the turtles are again happily breeding on the beach. This represents a successful combination of designed planned management of environmental development.
Integral to the resort are the three different interior environments and associated offers of the hotels: Al Waha 5 star (330 key), Al Bandar 5 star deluxe (300 key) and Al Husn 6 star (220 key). A Chi Spa and dedicated multi-purpose Ballroom/Conference Facility are the other main areas. The offers between each hotel differ considerably yet require to be unified by the external illuminated conditions. The sheer size, complexity and variety of offers along with complex interior design solutions create a massive design challenge.
The challenge was to craft a large variety of lighting solutions intrinsic and unique to each interior and to provide a harmonious and dynamic solution yet not be repetitive and also to combine the contemporary and local vernacular.
The sheer number and variety of space, usage and interior design solutions created another challenge - to maintain a quality and variety of solution throughout whilst maintaining a visual unification especially externally.
A high level of design team integration with high attendance levels on-site during installation has been the key to the success. The close working relationship with the Interior Designers and Architects along with both the Client and the Operator has also been crucial. The success can be seen in the incredible high occupancy rates of not just the rooms but usage of the resort and offers in the evening. The crafted illuminated ambiance being one of the main visitor attractions.
Within the resort’s dedicated features are the largest fibre/crystal ballroom ceiling in the Middle East and the largest crystal and fibre chandelier constructed in the world, both these items have become iconic features within the destination.

Main Specified Manufacturers
Oldham Lighting
Louis Poulsen
Universal Fibre Optics
Mike Stoane Lighting


Al Bandar

The Al Bandar Hotel Lobby

  • Al Bandar

    The Al Bandar Hotel Piano Lounge

  • Al Bandar

    BELOW Chandeliers in Al Bandar

  • Al Bandar
  • Al Bandar

    The Al Bandar Prefunction room

  • Al Bandar

    The Al Husn Hotel Lobby and Restaurant

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