Circa will be the first brand-new resort built from the ground up in the downtown area since the D Las Vegas, which opened in 1980, known then as The Sundance.

The lighting design was the responsibility of Steelman Affiliate, Shop 12 Design. The lighting of Circa would compete for attention with every other Las Vegas property.

An integrated media façade facing Fremont Street formed the core element of a multi-faceted lighting design.

Shop 12’s President, Jon Champelli, had conceived of a media wall integrated into the twenty-eight spandrel panels in the double-height curtain wall units that comprise the façade envelope. The LED component would be introduced at each floor slab, approximately 10 feet (approx. 3 m) apart vertically.

Shop 12’s design was based upon closely spaced RGBW luminaires. Each RGBW pixel would be spaced at 2.2 inches (57 mm). The use of illumination Physics data pixels illuminated an area of 1 37/64 inch (40mm) for each fixture. Most importantly, the new LED fixtures were to be as invisible as possible during the daytime so that there would be no indication that there was lighting embedded in the façade at all.

Individual control of every pixel in 4 colours was required – a total of 94,675, including the signage. In daylight, the LED lighting equipment should be imperceptible, blending with the curtain wall spandrel panels.

The illumination Physics Data Pixel 6 was ideal from both a size and light output perspective.

But this was only part of the answer, just the luminaires and drivers; a fully integrated solution was required. The data pixels needed to be pre-installed in panels then delivered to the curtain wall factory and integrated into the curtain wall modules that would form the building envelope of Circa’s hotel tower. The curtain wall panels were then tested and shipped to the construction site in Las Vegas.

Working with Shop 12, we developed metal panels in four sizes into which the data pixels could be securely mounted. The panels had laser-cut perforations to expose LEDs on the front. On the back, CNC machined mounting studs were attached to match the mounting lugs of a revised illumination Physics Data Pixel 6 LED module. A selection of media panels was tested in a full scale, 2-storey façade mock-up in Las Vegas.

The 853 media panels are all the same height (1 foot), but produced in four widths:

13.5 inches (343 mm) with 30 LED nodes – 1 string

27.5 inches (699 mm) with 65 LED nodes – 2 strings

41.5 inches (1,054 mm) with 100 LED nodes – 2 strings

56.25 inches (1,429 mm) with 150 LED nodes – 3 strings

In total, 2,075 strings were made for the façade, plus spares.

The media panels were mounted in a back pan which was then glazed into each curtain wall panel. If required, a media panel can be removed from the front as the flush retaining screws are on the outside, painted to match the white finish of the panels and the rest of the curtain wall.


Image 1 – DeKo Productions, Devin Kolovich

Image 2 – Key Lime Photography, Las Vegas

Image 3 – DeKo Productions, Devin Kolovich

Images 4-8 – Key Lime Photography, Las Vegas

Image 9 – Ryan Gobuty courtesy of Circa Resort & Casino

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