The Strip’s first park will welcome four iconic shade structures: color-changing art installations that elicit wonder and curiosity to all passersby. Standing at heights that range from 55 feet to 75 feet tall, these monumental perforated steel structures provide pods of coolness for those seeking refuge from the intense desert heat.
Designed by New York City-based landscape architecture firm !melk, the majestic steel structures provide a sequence of a procession through The Park as they change based on one’s trajectory of motion. Creative designers used innovative 3D software to understand how the shade structures would work in sync with the forms and materials of The Park.
!melk Founder Jerry van Eyck said, “We studied how the movement of the sun would impact The Park and overlaid the pedestrian scale of the space to determine the ideal location and size for each group of shade structures. The varied perforations were inspired by patterns and textures from the desert environment and they cast a playful shadow on the colorful pavers below.”
Built by IHC Studio Metalix, a Netherlands-based firm dedicated to the design and construction of ships and aircrafts, the structures are the first-in-kind in Las Vegas. The production of each structure, from cutting and forming to welding and assembly, took more than 2,000 hours to complete. In total, Metalix employees dedicated 32,000 labor hours to construct these beautiful sculptures.
IHC Studio Metalix employee assembling the shade structure
IHC Studio Metalix Architectural Fabricator Hans de Klerk said, “The structures are a big contribution to the Park experience; they are incredibly eye-catching and will truly change the landscape of The Strip. The 3D shaping, metal stretching and lighting design of the structures showcase impressive technological advancements that give The Park that unbelievable “wow” factor.”
IHC Studio Metalix employee shaping metal
So what makes the structures so unique?
During the day, carefully designed perforations, nearly 1,200 per crown, will cast delicate patterns on the The Park grounds. At night, the openings will emit an intense glow, creating a magical light effect. On the quarter hour, the structures will “transform” into large cactus blooms with beautiful petals that exude awe-inspiring colors. This computer sequencing technique will allow for a “visual chime” to take place. Visitors will be able to tell what time it is based on the changes, just like the aural chimes on a clock.
Arup Associate Principal Leni Schwendinger, lighting designer and artist, said, “The transformation will be elegant and gorgeous. For people who know about the timing of the change, it will be a moment to anticipate.”
The kicker? The lights cannot be installed until the shade structures are mounted into the ground at The Park. At that point, Schwendinger and her team will travel to Las Vegas for the installation, which will include placing thousands of LED light fixtures by hand.
Shade Structures at Night
Schwendinger added, “Our approach melds material, color and human factors to create a visual identity. Naturally, the lighting will follow suit. The Park’s nighttime identity offers an antidote to the over-the-top displays surrounding the landscape, bidding the visitor respite and an alternate experience of beauty.”
Set to open in April 2016, The Park will serve as the official gateway to T-Mobile Arena, providing a reprieve from the hype of the Las Vegas Strip. Visitors may relax and unwind in the beauty of modern design while socializing with friends; enjoy delicious cuisine from neighborhood restaurants and bars; or stroll through the space to take in the sights of The Strip’s newest cultural destination.