illumination Physics

The illumination of
Studio City Macau

Hollywood in Macau


Studio City Macau is an outstanding Hollywood-themed resort which offers what is an unprecedented cinematic inspired entertainment and leisure experience never before seen on the Cotai Strip in Macau. This is the second property to be owned by Melco-Crown Entertainment after City of Dreams and has just been crowned the Casino/Integrated Resort of the Year by the 9th International Gaming Awards (IGA) for 2016.
Different people see different things when they first encounter Studio City at night. 
There is a common reaction however, one is forced to stop and consider the confronting view for several moments. 
What follows is a chorus of typical comments; ‘That is impressive’, ‘That is amazing’ (whilst wondering at the style of the architecture) or just plain ‘wow!’
"As Packer strolled his newest casino resort on Tuesday evening, the night before the official opening, he reflected back on the "journey" to get to that stage.
"This is better than I thought it would be," he said."
Tasker, The Weekend Australian (October 31-November 1, 2015, p. 36).
One can be too analytical and try to allocate some part of your prior experience to the design of Studio City, after all there are many design clues…

Art Deco?
The epic banner branding of the great Hollywood movie productions?
Gotham City? After all Batman actually does await you in 4D once you are inside.

Studio City carries the strongest entertainment theming of any resort in Macau and the epic movie theatre vision is carried throughout every part of the building. Therefore the facade lighting is necessarily theatrical in style. Lighting design is a derivative art-form and the lighting follows and reinforces the remarkable elements of the spectacle this building creates.

Illumination Physics was honoured to have been selected as the lighting designer for all of the remarkable façades of the resort. Even more so, we are proud to have been awarded the design, manufacture, supply, install and programming of all the façade lighting. 
It is true that there is a strong art deco influence throughout the entire building; especially the eight shining and decorated turrets that sit atop the eight hotel towers which are reminiscent of a science fiction city skyline from the 1930’s. The lighting highlights these turrets spectacularly, however your eye is first drawn to another feature, arguably the most unusual architectural feature of any casino in Macau.

The two hotel towers curve to form a semi-circle and are connected at the centre via a massive figure eight formed in golden truss, 30 storeys high. At this point the building is transparently open and there is no structure within the ‘eight’; it is open from both the east and west. Look closely and there is much more. Within the ‘eight’ is a Ferris wheel ride like no other. Seventeen themed capsules travel around within the truss taking the riders on a journey along the form of the luckiest number, 130 metres off the ground. Called the ‘Golden Reel’ this metallic gold feature is illuminated in golden light, made possible using 1000 pieces of Illumination Physics’ CR80 mini wash light. Just 80mm in diameter these custom ten-watt lights make use of 10 X 60 degree lenses and very warm white at 2300K.


Studio City contains a casino and the lighting must exert a strong pull, in must promote drama and curiosity at first sight, and then create a grand sense of arrival. 

Illumination Physics was chosen as the designer for all of the façade lighting based on our extensive experience with large buildings. We have a strong track record in integrated façade lighting and have always succeeded in providing spectacular and reliable lighting treatments.

Illumination Physics has from its inception, specialised in lighting that contained an entertainment and media role. Our design/build project for HSBC’s headquarters in Hong Kong is another such project and was completed in early 2015.

Studio City contains a casino and the lighting must exert a strong pull. It must promote drama and curiosity at first sight, and then create a grand sense of arrival.

Yet it must do all this in a more sophisticated way than its many competitors in Macau. The design strikes a balance between spectacle and relative restraint. The show is provided by the towers whilst the podium does not use dynamic lighting at all.

One hundred percent of the facades are illuminated with LED and the podium facades make use of warm white generally, but with the use of Neutral white when contrast is required. For example the two massive ‘Hero’ statues that stand above the gates of the grand entrance make use of the cooler colour temperature which better accentuates their polished metal skin. 

Above the podium every one of the five thousand powerful Illumination Physics LED light fixtures makes use of dynamic colour changing. We no longer use RGB (red, green and blue), because the range of colours is too limited, particularly as we wanted to be able to mix warm whites and other colours that cannot be achieved with RGB alone.

All off the IP Wash 48, Wash 36 and IP Linear Wash lights used to up-light the tower facades are RGBA (red, green, blue and amber). This not only allows the tower to match the mono-colours of the podium at times, but also allows the display of true ‘gold’ and many other hues that would be impossible with just RGB.

The towers have two main facades, both east and west appropriately, and the lighting is mirrored on both.

Surrounding the Golden Reel is a Media Wall comprised of 3008 Illumination Physics IP Media Dots, a compact but powerful direct view single pixel luminaire that is driven by a four colour multi die LED chip. The Media Wall draws the eye to the centre of the building and provides the movement and meaning in the lighting that is synonymous with the early casino lighting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Media Walls also add another level of capability in that video graphics are used to support notional concepts in the lighting shows.

Searchlights are synonymous with a Hollywood movie debut and Studio City would be incomplete without them. Raking the sky each night they draw attention to the coolest destination in Macau, a metaphor and mecca for pure entertainment.