One of the first issues that Focus Lighting addressed when the firm designed the lighting layout for the Crystals shopping mall—the signature retail component of the new CityCenter development in Las Vegas—was where to place fixtures within the vast volume of its commons' high ceilings, some of which are as high as 120 feet. Architect Daniel Libeskind wanted the oblique geometries of the interior to be visible to visitors and sent a clear message to the rest of the design team that he wanted to keep the architecture clean. This meant that hanging a catenary truss system to support the lighting equipment would be out of the question. So Focus Lighting devised a solution that groups luminaires in a series of discretely located recessed slots in the ceiling and wall planes.

“We collaborated with the architects to get the slots just right,” explains Paul Gregory of Focus Lighting. “We'd draw the slots and send them to Libeskind's office. They'd think about it for a week, then move them a bit and send the drawings back. We were thinking about how we were going to get a maintenance guy up there to change the lights, and [Studio Daniel Libeskind] was thinking about how the slots looked in the ceiling. In the end we worked it out so that the openings are 30 inches across.”

While most of these slots are reached by boom lifts, some are positioned either too high up on the ceiling, above the Grand Stair, or above interior features such as the water sculptures “Glacia” and “Halo.” As a result, Focus Lighting convinced client-owner MGM Mirage to build catwalks in four locations to access six areas with lighting equipment that would otherwise have been inaccessible. Without these, maintenance on these fixtures would have been a nightmare.

At the time that the decision to go ahead with the catwalks was reached, the steel for the project had already been ordered and there was no possibility of going back to integrate pathways for the catwalks into the structural steel. Focus Lighting then worked with both Studio Daniel Libeskind and the Rockwell Group to find access points that would work best, allowing the catwalks to be threaded through the ceiling's trusses. “I actually crawled under a table to convince [the architects] that you can climb over and under a beam,” says Stephanie Daigle, a designer at Focus Lighting who was on site to see the lighting details through before the project opening. As a result, this inventive use of access catwalks make all the difference in ensuring that the lighting will continue to perform as intended.

Project Crystals, CityCenter, Las Vegas

Client MGM Mirage, Las Vegas

Design Architect Studio Daniel Libeskind, New York

Architect of Record AAI Architects, Toronto

Interior Designer/Architect The Rockwell Group, New York

Lighting Designer Focus Lighting, New York

Project Size 500,000 square feet

Manufacturers B-K Lighting, ETC, Edison Price, Lighting Services Inc, Martin Architectural, Philips Color Kinetics

1 FLUORESCENT WORKLIGHT

2 VERTICAL HANGERS CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO BEAM

3 STEEL BRACKET LIGHTING SUPPORT, HEIGHT ADJUSTED ACCORDING TO LOCATION

4 1½-INCH PIPE RAIL TO HOLD LIGHTING EQUIPMENT AND FIXTURES

5 6-INCH METAL STUD

6 THEATRICAL FRAMING PROJECTOR

7 REMOVABLE WIRE MESH MOUNTED ON STEEL FRAME TO PREVENT ACCESSORIES FROM FALLING THROUGH DURING AIMING AND MAINTENANCE

8 BUILDING TRUSS

9 STEEL C-SECTION ATTACHED TO STRINGER WITH STEEL ANGLE, GALVANIZED STEEL GRATING FASTENED TO STEEL ANGLE

10 CONTINUOUS GUARDRAIL AND HANDRAIL WITH INTEGRATED CONVENIENCE OUTLETS FOR POWER SUPPLY