Work on constructing the largest chandelier in the world – which will be installed at the Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE – is in full swing at Faustig’s facilities in Germany.
The chandelier, specially designed for the central dome of the mosque, when completed, will find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest of its kind in the world measuring 10 by 15 m.
The mosque – a prayer site for over 40,000 people – is destined to become an icon of Islamic architecture and the third largest in the world when it is inaugurated in September this year. It is also a symbol for the vision and the scale of projects that Abu Dhabi is capable of creating, with lavish interiors that set new records in design and construction.
Faustig, the company that won the contract to create this chandelier several years ago, is not new to the business of creating awe-inspiring chandeliers of mammoth proportions. A few years ago, in a similar project, it delivered and installed what is currently the world’s largest chandelier for the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman – measuring 8 m by 14.6 m – earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
With this latest chandelier, which will exceed the dimensions of the one at Grand Mosque in Muscat, Faustig is poised to break its own previous record.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque chandelier is to be a marvellous feat of light and engineering.
“Our brief was to create the most fantastic decorative lighting for the mosque, taking into consideration its exterior and interior decoration,” says Thomas Faustig, owner of Faustig and creator of this masterpiece. Elaborating on the finer nuances of this project, he says: “The central chandelier measures 10 m by 15 m. In all, Faustig will design, deliver and install six chandeliers for this Grand Mosque. Two of these measure 7 m by 12 m, one is 4.3 m by 6.5m and three are 3.5 m by 5.5 m in size. The entire contract is worth Dh30 million ($8.17 million). For these chandeliers we have specially designed all the metal and crystal parts.”
Faustig Middle East recently opened its regional headquarters in a villa on Beach Road in Jumeirah, Dubai.
“Faustig’s links with the Middle East are time-tested. Our understanding of the local culture and our impeccable references in the Middle East are what led to our signing this project,” he comments.
As to what makes these chandeliers unique, Faustig says: “The design itself is very unusual. The materials will last an eternity: the structure is stainless steel, covered with 24-carat gold-plated brass. Swarovski Strass crystal panels are used in many different colours and come arranged in many patterns. The primary light source is LED, which minimises electricity consumption, heat exposure, and maintenance.”
Commenting on how the design concept was brought to reality, Johannes Tomm, lighting engineer at Faustig, says: “Everything was a challenge. The template for this chandelier has been created from scratch. It had to be designed and forged to perfection to ensure a perfect finish.”
These chandeliers are as big as a five-storey building. While the LED system needs no maintenance for about 20 years, the chandelier would need cleaning every six months, which can be done using scaffolding platforms that are inbuilt inside the chandelier. The bottom of the chandelier can be opened, and there is a staircase built into the three large chandeliers. They are built in segments, which will be assembled at site.
“Installing them will be the next greatest challenge as the roof has to withstand their weight and the owners are using special concrete to ensure the strength of the reinforced concrete structure,” says Faustig.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) overseeing the project is extremely keen that the chandelier along with other elements of the Interiors and the construction itself are sturdy enough to withstand the ravages of time.
This chandelier will be the focal point of the central dome in the mosque and is especially custom designed so as to blend with the colours and the themes of the patterns that will adorn the central dome.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s architectural design aims to make a lasting impression on the worshipper. For example, the mosque will be clad in marble and gold, while the dimensions of the central prayer hall are 50 m by 55 m on plan with a 33 m clear height to the ceiling.
The dome on the main building of the mosque is the biggest in the world with a height of 83 m and inner diameter of 32.8 m. Weighing nearly 1,000 tonnes, the dome’s interiors will feature fibre-reinforced gypsum installed by Moroccan artists.
Halcrow is the design consultant on the project.