The curve of a wave, the sparkle of crystal…such simple elements inspired Preciosa Lighting’s latest statement lighting installation. Named Crystal Swell, it can be experienced in the recently opened West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
“We knew that this space would be the front door of the building, so we wanted something very dynamic and dramatic,” said Brent Kelley, Managing Principal and co-head of the aviation sector at Corgan, the award-winning firm responsible for the project’s architectural and interior design services. “We were looking for something that would attract passengers and be visually interesting. The installation is a perfect complement to the design of the facility.”
Crystal Swell spans three levels and is inspired by an ocean wave breaking on the nearby ocean shore. It combines the simplicity associated with the “mid-century jet age” modern design of the International Terminal and the structural requirements needed to meet the stringent seismic codes developed for installations of this nature.
Sarka Olivova, a senior member of Preciosa’s design team, was challenged with the creation of a dazzling design that would also satisfy Preciosa Lighting and the airport’s safety requirements. The Preciosa engineering team, led by Radek Pytlik, had to ensure that any issues pertaining to the lighting’s installation would be addressed and that an earthquake would not impact the fixture’s structural integrity.
“We worked with where and how to anchor the luminaire so that the design aspect would be preserved,” Ms. Olivova explained. “We decided on three intertwining ribbons. The engineering team calculated the best possible placement of anchor points and how to prevent the prisms from breaking in case of an earthquake.”
Preciosa’s R&D team conducted modal, spectral, and gravity tests in a variety of severe environmental conditions using specialized testing equipment in the company’s state-of-the-art Innovation Lab. The Lab also features a dark room and advanced electronic systems to create interactive elements for lighting installations.
“Calculations, simulations and testing, all in accordance with seismic active areas, were the three most important aspects the engineering team contributed to this project,” said Mr. Pytlik. “We completed extensive research and faced a number of challenges regarding the marriage of the fixture’s design with its functionality.”
“This installation is really the perfect complement to the entire design of the facility,” said Mr. Kelley. “We were looking for the space to be filled with something that would attract passengers, that would be visually interesting to passengers, that they would look at and think, “that’s an iconic piece.”
Crystal Swell at the LAX West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal
- The luminaire features crystal cut prisms supported by a polished stainless steel frame
- Preciosa’s R&D team had to calculate, simulate, and test every aspect of the light to ensure it met all safety regulations for seismically active areas.
- RGBW LED strips provide a beautiful and playful lighting effect, and help bring Crystal Swell to life.
- The LAX in-house team is trained to create a variety of dynamic lighting scenes to celebrate local or global events.
By the Numbers
- Weight: 4,000 kilograms
- Height: 17 metres
- Length of the three crystal ribbons (combined): 65 metres
- Richter magnitude: 7 degrees