The Opus in Dubai is the latest landmark in the ever-expanding city. Illuminate Lighting Design and dpa lighting consultants worked together to develop seamless lighting solutions to best showcase the latest jewel in the Zaha Hadid crown.

The feeling of flow was something that stood out to Illuminate Lighting Design while working on the Opus, an instantly recognizable Zaha Hadid project. Rikus De Kock, Lighting Project Director at Illuminate, explained: “It was refreshing to work to a design that is not typical. I come from the theatrical side of lighting, and back then we deliberately strived to make everything unusual. A typical ZHA design is always ‘flowing’, and the form of the design is a driving factor.”

Spanning 84,300sqm, the Opus was designed as two separate towers that “coalesce into a single whole” taking the form of a cube. The cube has been “eroded” in its centre, creating a typically Zaha Hadid free-form void, and illuminated by a dynamic light installation developed by dpa lighting consultants. The interior of Opus is full of typical Zaha Hadid flourishes such as undulating curves and unusual shapes feature.

The brief for the interior lighting design, De Kock explained, came more in a “language of renders and visuals”, rather than a specific narrative. Through the visuals, it was clear that the lighting design was extremely clean, with typical ZHA curved lines. The same language flowed from the rooms throughout the public areas. The overall intent of clean ceilings and curved lines was evident with the use of hidden linear fixtures creating flowing lines of light that seamlessly blend into the fabric of the building.

The main challenge was to match the technical specifications of the lighting to match the design intent and still achieve the correct lux levels where needed but it was swiftly resolved due to the technology available in this day and age.

A fixture that ran throughout the building, a combination of spotlights and downlights, was selected for its design and technical performance.

Areas where lighting concepts had to be developed by Illuminate Lighting Design, De Kock would look for inspirations from the wider work of Zaha Hadid to create a lighting scheme that would live up to the striking architecture.

In a project such as the Opus that is so driven by remarkable architecture and interior design, it is important that the lighting design does not draw focus but serves as an accompaniment.

Photo Credits: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Project: The Opus
Location: Dubai
Design Studio: HBA