The Torch Doha

ProjectThe Torch DohaLocationQatar, State of QatarLighting DesignerLumatron Qatar W.L.L., Qatar / Carl Stahl ARC, GermanyInstallerLumatron Qatar W.L.L., QatarSubmitted byinoage GmbH – MADRIX

The Aspire Tower, better known as The Torch Doha, was designed as a gigantic torch, it is currently the highest building in Qatar with 300m.

In 2022, it made history again. When an already striking architecture meets the technical feat of modern lighting design, the project’s next level is unlocked. But even more so, a new record is in order.

The technical requirements and challenges of an outdoor media facade are already enormous. It is even more challenging in the hot desert climate. Extreme heat and strong headwinds are the norm in Qatar. The structure’s height and its close vicinity to the sea amplify these effects.

Project company Lumatron and manufacturer Carl Stahl ARC were tasked by Sports City Advertising with a lighting system that is both impressive and functional. In a joint effort, they won the prestigious project by offering the client a complete turnkey solution, including a reliable, custom-designed, non-intrusive mounting system.

The main goal was to create a striking media facade for advertising, ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

On the one hand, the system needed to withstand the powerful climatic adversities.
On the other, a lightweight to minimise the load on the structure as well as a small footprint to reduce the attack area for wind were paramount and it needed to be installed in addition to the existing outdoor lighting.

The project needed to be able to provide a high-definition picture at a specific distance and provide a brightness of at least 42 candelas while being sensitive to power requirements.

To overcome these challenges, Carl Stahl and Lumatron developed a custom fixation clamp that allowed Lumatron to mount the LED fixtures on the existing cladding.

The clamps needed to level out any height differences on the surface as well. The clamps must also safeguard against any possible detachment from the 11 different types of already-installed facade mesh, which had endured the climate for well over 10 years at this point.

Surface areas that did not have any fixation points available were covered with new, durable steel nets — a mainstay of Carl Stahl and a surprisingly creative and versatile solution.

While developing the clamps took many months itself, mounting the system to the facade proved to be the biggest challenge. The only access was through specialised teams performing the installation in lofty heights from outside the tower. For safety reasons, climbers aren’t allowed to work at wind speeds over 25 km/h, which would frequently delay the process.

One month had such strong winds that the crew was able to mount it for only 5 days.

The project was carried out by a team of 50 specialists across different areas of expertise for around 10 months until June 2022. Due to the sheer size of the lighting system, Sports City Advertising kept an eye on the total power consumption right from the start and made it one of the key specifications.

Carl Stahl ARC was able to meet the requirements with its highly efficient LED modules. The now installed X-LED RGB fixtures convinced with their IP65 ratings, automatic addressing of each single dot, replaceability of single dots, and most importantly their high brightness of 42 cd per dot at a low power consumption of ~1 W maximum. 495 by XLED-PS-6-C-ES power supplies were specified for their robust IP65 outdoor aluminium enclosure, without the need for additional external cooling, and their useful feature to daisy-chain power and data between units.

Art-Net Ethernet communication is used on the control side to feed DMX512 data to the individually controllable LED modules with the help of 495 by MADRIX STELLA controllers (X-LED version), built into the power supplies.

Lumatron’s responsibility was the full design of the structure, the design of the electrical system, as well as execution of the project, including installation, programming, testing, and commissioning.

The overall media screen is divided into two sections. Floors 22 – 27 have a pixel pitch of 160mm and a pixel resolution of 540 by 133 installed with an optimal viewing distance of 160m. Floors 27 – 45 have a pixel pitch of 320mm and a pixel resolution of 432 by 182 installed with an optimal viewing distance of 320m.

Not only did this give Lumatron the flexibility and capabilities of the LED technology an edge over the competition but the innovations in the MADRIX 5 Software allowed the control of the 990 DMX universes.

MADRIX 5 maximum was chosen for its easy-to-use user interfaces for the client, built-in features to create and manage visual content, media-server capabilities for video playback, customisable scheduler, and the ability to control such a high number of LEDs in the first place.

It also helped to simplify the execution of the project given the very large number of LEDs thanks to the built-in tools to identify LEDs, creating patches and matrices, fixture addressing, and programming.

The commitment and level of support from the MADRIX Team during and after the implementation was an invaluable success factor as well.

Only during the project stages, it became clear that a truly unique opportunity presented itself. The final size of the lighting system was simply staggering.
With a total amount of 165,000 RGB LED dots, placed on an area of about 11,400m² and a total height of the video screen of 130m, it is the biggest 360° media facade in the world — as announced by Guinness World Records.