Holistic approach to lighting makes Sheikh Zayed Bridge (Abu Dhabi) shine

February 18, 2011

Holistic approach to lighting makes Sheikh Zayed Bridge (Abu Dhabi) shine
Bridge illustrates the strength of integrating holistic design, architectural feature lighting, and roadway lighting.


Eindhoven – the Netherlands / Abu Dhabi UAE – Philips is proud to have partnered in the latest architectural project of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. The bridge connects Dubai and the capital city Abu Dhabi and is more than 840 meters long, connecting the mainland with the Emirates largest island  Abu Dhabi.

The bridge has been designed by the prestigious architect Zaha Hadid of London, and is a unique orchestration of a straight, linear bridge deck and a sensually-shaped double spine, consisting of three double arches. Rogier van der Heide, currently Chief Design Officer of Philips Lighting, led the lighting design the from the start of the project in 2001. Regarding the lighting design of the bridge, Rogier explains: "the lighting design of this project was incredibly complex. The design had to integrate color changing technology, dust- and waterproof equipment, a very advanced control network and special optics into a single holistic solution. The successful finalization of this project demonstrates how important it is to collaborate, and how architectural lighting has evolved into a holistic discipline that brings together designers, manufacturers and engineers in an integrated process."

The road lighting – provided by Philips –  is based on energy efficient, a-symmetric architectural light fixtures that offer precise beam control to prevent interference with the delicate feature lighting that is supplied by Martin Pro Middle East. By designing the road lighting and feature lighting in an integral way, they do not disturb each other and strengthen the overall concept instead.

Rogier van der Heide tells about the design elements: “the design is based on two principles: first of all it is a metaphor of energy flowing across the water, visualized by colors of light cross-fading from one to another while simultaneously moving along the bridge's spine. Secondly, the lighting renders the bridge's spine at night in a 3-dimensional fashion, by projecting different colors on horizontal and vertical surfaces, that way articulating the spatial structure of the bridge's spine.”


I. The team contributed to the lighting of Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi, UAE
• Lighting design and lighting specification: Rogier van der Heide
• Specification validation and technical drawings: Arup Lighting
• Lighting electrical engineering: High Point Rendel
• Systems integration, on-site supervision, programming of software: Martin Pro Middle East
• Feature lighting equipment: Martin Pro Middle East
• Road lighting equipment: Philips Lighting
• Commissioning on site: Arup Lighting, Martin Pro Middle East, Lichtpunt