Burj Khalifa Dubai opens with spectacular celebration of light

January 05 2010 — by Jesse Lilley
On 4 January 2010 the world’s tallest building opened with a dramatic lighting ceremony in Dubai.

Back in 2009, Speirs + Major were invited by developers EMAAR to propose creative lighting solutions that would reinforce the brand image of this iconic and record-breaking tower. A proposal for the day-to-day illuminated appearance of the building was already in place, courtesy of Fisher Marantz Stone of New York. EMAAR, however, desired an additional celebratory layer of interest to create a statement after dark.

Sketch of Burj Khalifa's Celebration Lighting / Speirs + Major.
Sketch of Burj Khalifa's Celebration Lighting / Speirs + Major.
Speirs + Major developed three very different options with the working titles of Light Beacon, Sky Beams and Pinstripe. The final selected design, Light Beacon, involves 868 high power stroboscopes carefully integrated into the facades at each terrace level and the spire, with the highest unit located at 826m. Each one can be individually struck to create complex lighting sequences that respond to the form of the building. Because the units only flash for the briefest of nanoseconds the power consumption over the course of an evening is remarkably low against the visual impact.