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Crown Towers Hotel and Casino, City of Dreams, Macau

Issue 53 Feb/Mar 2010 : Retail : Hotel

Lighting Design: POINTOFVIEW Architects: BATES SMART

Drama exudes at the Crown Towers Hotel and Casino thanks to a lighting scheme by Australian practice PointOfView

PointOfView, lead by Design Manager Mark Elliott, was appointed back in 2006 as lighting consultants for the Crown Towers Hotel and Casino, a 30-story tower with the top three levels hosting the VIP gaming venue, The Crystal Club. Below this are the High Roller Villas, complete homes with entourage rooms, catering facilities, multiple bedrooms, living and dining areas designed, as you would imagine, to the height of luxury. Below these Villas are 20+ floors featuring 286 guestrooms. On the podium there are two signature restaurants, Lung Hing (Chinese fare) and Horizons (classic steakhouse fare). In addition a huge spawling spa complex comes complete with eight exquisitely designed treatment rooms, plunge pools, saunas, steam rooms, a massage lounge, a state-of-the-art fitness centre plus a hair salon and nail services.

Bates Smart (the interior designers from Melbourne) designed a feature screen that runs the full length of the expansive lobby. The screen is constructed from brushed aluminium tubes of differing shades and colours, suspended from the ceiling and plunging into a light box on the floor. PointOfView used the screen surface to provide reflected light into the space. At ceiling level the tubes are recessed into a trough housing multiple AR111 narrow beam downlights that accent the screen from above. The feature screen concludes at one end with a mass spiral of tubes all lit from above with concealed downlights integrated within the form creating an intense pocket of light below to reveal the destination. At the opposite end, a crystal chandelier with thousands of individually hung crystal spheres is lit from above creating sparkle above the lobby lounge bar.

General lighting in the lobby comes from coves that wash the marble wall, AR111 downlights to the seating areas featuring fibre optic wall-hung pendants with integrated downlights and accent downlights within the perimeter cove enhancing the vertical supports to the pendants.

Moving up to level two takes you to Horizons, the Crown Towers signature restaurant. As you enter there is a sculptural ceiling feature of suspended mirrored facets that are lit from multiple sources at each side and from above. The reflected scattered light creates a dramatic entry statement. In the entry lounge a perimeter cove conceals downlights to accent the sheer curtains, whilst in the main dining area the cove conceals 2400K cold cathode to wash the drapes. Integrated cold cathode provides a warm glow at low level and enhances the leather cladding around the columns. A rope canopy in the main dining area concludes with feature glass pendants over a central table. Uplights and downlights are concealed behind the banquette seating. Streaking light across the ropes reveal the texture and enahance the form of the room. AR111 downlights pin spot the tables creating drama and intimacy.

Also on level two is the spa, possibly the largest in Asia. “This was the most enjoyable area to design,” says Elliot, “so many different rooms and activities, all with specific requirements and challenges such as heat (in the sauna) and moisture in many of the wet areas. Pre-relax, relax and post-relax rooms cater for all stages of relaxation. The saunas and steam rooms were challenging - trying to find a linear light source that would stand up to the temperature was tricky. We decided on solid core side emitting fibre and located the light engines outside of the rooms in wall cavities, the light washing from under the benches provides a perfect subdued effect whilst enhancing the timber / tiles.”

The ‘experience showers’ feature integrated mosaic tile RGB LED modules that are programmed to cycle between shades of blue for the cool shower and red, orange and amber for the warm. The wet rooms with plunge pools are the focus of each of the spas. Ambient light was kept to a minimum with cold cathode cove lighting being the main source. Some accent downlights are also used, but the majority of light is centred around and within the pool. LEDs surround the pool uplighting the tiles whilst remaining cool so as not to cause harm to clients resting their arms on the pool edge.

Within the treatment rooms a similar approach was taken by integrating linear light sources under benches and within coves, whilst a fibre optic ‘starry sky’ ceiling was installed above the treatment bench. When clients are receiving treatments ambient lighting is dimmed very low and the fibre optics shimmer through a drape that obscures the ceiling.
The Crystal Club is a VIP gaming facility. Ambient lighting in the circular reception room is concealed in ceiling coves and the floor trough encompassing the room with light. Custom made lanterns surround the seating area - MR16 uplights are integrated in the base ensuring a soft glow which fades off towards the top. A custom made feature chandelier with amber glass commands the space.

Within the gaming areas, there is a balance between designing for aesthetic and designing for function. “Anyone who has designed a casino before knows that security is king and the cameras take presidence,” states Elliot, “so the light levels on the tables, the direction of shadowing is all important.” Adjustable downlights are used to accent the green cloth, angles are set to ensure no shadowing, so that gamers and croupiers alike can’t conceal any untoward activities. The crystal chandelier above provides an ambient glow and is the major glamour statement. Surrounding ambient light comes from cove lighting washing the rich fabrics that adorn the walls. The Crystal Club Lounge is a 6.5m high space with a fully glazed façade presenting a view down the Cotai Strip. Narrow beam downlights are concealed within the ceiling cove streaking light across the sheer curtain, partially obscuring the gamers’ view of the competitor hotels. Leather clad columns are accented in the same fashion. Wall hung chandeliers have integrated downlights to accent the tables below so maintenance for fittings at high level is reduced.

The Club Bar has LED strips integrated behind the shelving, enhancing the textured stone face. The chandelier over the bar is lit from above so that the crystal is the prominent feature rather than the light source.
The High Roller Villas are complementary to VIP gamers. Some take up half a floor and contain every item of luxury you would expect when gaming with millions of dollars a night. Rich wall fabrics are accented with wall wash downlights whilst ambient 2400K cold cathode lighting reflects off the gold leaf ceiling providing the ever important golden amber light that is quintessential to Asian luck in casinos.

LED strip lighting is integrated under joinery elements and within shelving. Decorative screens are in sillhouette where the wall behind is uplit. The bathrooms are luxurious with huge plunge baths and a custom chandelier above that integrates a downlight to accent the bath. The gold tiled curved wall behind is haloed with LED strips. Linear fluorescent is integrated within the mirrors and IP65 versions are fitted under the shower bench.

Mark Elliott is obviously delighted with the scheme. “In an environment where light is so important and in many cases where the Asian culture requires higher light levels than we’re used to in the western world, our philospohy was to conceal the light as much as possible whilst enabling all the rich materials to be enhanced. Challenges came by the way of lower quality products being used in opposition to our specification. This is something we’re used to but this was on a much larger scale. Luckily all of the custom made chandeliers, pendants, floor and table lamps were made to a very high standard by a Hong Kong manufacturer, Ricardo Lighting.”

Project Details
Crown Towers Hotel and Casino, City of Dreams, Macau
Client: Melco Crown Entertainment
Lighting Design: PointOfView
Interior Architect: Bates Smart
Photographs: William Furniss / Mark Elliott

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