The Crystal Swell installation at the Los Angeles International Airport captures the drama and beauty of ocean waves, transpiring into an iconic lighting feature impeccably.

Simple and yet incredibly dazzling from every angle, the Crystal Swell installation by Preciosa Lighting infuses an instant wow factor to the recently opened West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

“We knew that this space would be the front door of the building, so we wanted something very dynamic and dramatic,” says Brent Kelley, Managing Principal and co-head of the aviation sector at Corgan, the award-winning firm responsible for the project’s architectural and interior design services.

Inspired by dramatic ocean waves breaking across the shore, this crystal lighting piece is a remarkable creative feat in every way. Spanning three levels, Crystal Swell brings together the “mid-century jet age” design of the International Terminal and the structural requirements needed to meet the stringent seismic codes developed for installations of this nature.

As the airport’s safety requirements took prominence in this project, Preciosa’s design team, helmed by Sarka Olivova, worked hand-in-hand with Preciosa’s engineering team, led by Radek Pytlik. Together, they addressed the issues pertaining to the lighting’s installation – in this case, it was important to ensure an earthquake would not impact the fixture’s structural integrity.

“We worked with where and how to anchor the luminaire so that the design aspect would be preserved,” Ms Olivova explains. “We decided on three intertwining ribbons. The engineering team calculated the best possible placement of anchor points and how to prevent the prisms from breaking in case of an earthquake.”

On top of this, Preciosa’s R&D team also conducted modal, spectral, and gravity tests in different severe environmental conditions using specialised testing equipment in the company’s state-of-the-art Innovation Lab. Additionally, the LAX in-house team is also trained to generate various dynamic lighting scenes for celebrating local or global events.

“This installation is really the perfect complement to the entire design of the facility,” says Mr Kelley. “We were looking for the space to be filled with something that would attract passengers, that would be visually interesting to passengers, that they would look at and think, “that’s an iconic piece.”

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