Dubai captivated the world this New Year’s Eve with a dazzling spectacle to usher in 2018. Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ Downtown Dubai celebration hosted a million visitors from across the world and reached an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide through live television broadcast and social media live streams.
The mesmerising laser, light and musical fountain show not only had a spellbinding effect on spectators, but ‘Light Up 2018’ also set a new Guinness World Records title for the ‘largest light and sound show on a single building’, staged on Burj Khalifa.
The record beats that set in Hong Kong in 2013 on the ICC Building, which was over a surface area of 46,641.52 sq metres. ‘Light Up 2018’ on Burj Khalifa, by contrast, spanned a surface area of 109,252 sq metres – more than double that of the earlier record set.
New Year’s Eve in Downtown Dubai was about much more than the record-breaking event that was one component of the show, as brilliant laser beams in multiple hues enveloped the night sky over Downtown Dubai, complementing the new LED panel displays of Burj Khalifa with over 1.1 million pixels, and the musical water performance of The Dubai Fountain.
Taking five months of constant preparation, ‘Light Up 2018’ put Dubai and the UAE in the global spotlight through its futuristic approach to New Year’s Eve gala celebrations. Environmentally-friendly, safe and spectacular, it served as a testament to the ‘can do’ ability of the nation with an international team collaborating to create a never-attempted-before feat.
A highlight of the show was the visual tribute to the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to coincide with the nation commemorating 2018 as the ‘Year of Zayed’ to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Breaking the Guinness World Records title with ‘Light Up 2018’ required a total installation of lights, beams and accessories weighing over 118.44 tonnes, and more than 28.7km of cables – including 7.7km of power cabling and 21km of network and signal cabling.
The show transformed Downtown Dubai into one of the world’s brightest spots, measuring 76.3 million lumens of brightness. Carefully choreographed lasers certified as completely safe to human eyes and energy-efficient LED bulbs were rigged using 25.3km of ropes and supported by 20 tonnes of special customised-steel mounting equipment.
In all, more than 40 specially modified outdoor lasers as well as 230 high power xenon searchlights and 280 outdoor beam moving lights were deployed, underpinned by the highest searchlight installation and highest laser installations in the world at 828 metres – the height of Burj Khalifa. More than 300 professionals worked on-site, including 100 rope-access experts.
‘Light Up 2018’ kicked off with on-ground celebrations from 5pm on December 312, 2017, with performances of The Dubai Fountain every 15 minutes and a live DJ keeping audiences entertained in the run up to midnight.
At two minutes to the New Year, ‘Light Up 2018’ began. Following a glittering display on Burj Khalifa – with powerful laser beams and LED lights creating inspiring motifs and patterns in myriad hues flickering up and down the entire height of the tower – it was time for the countdown. In the darkness, Burj Khalifa was the hero, coming alive to the colours of the UAE flag – red, green, white and black – with the seconds remaining in 2017 ticking down on the tower’s façade.
Ushering in the New Year, the celebration continued with a tribute to the UAE and Dubai, a mark of solidarity to friendly GCC nations, a spectacular display to mark the ‘Year of Zayed’ as well as an abstract depiction of the elements of nature. The display also featured the free-flight of a falcon and a rendering of the upcoming icon by Emaar, the Dubai Creek Tower in Dubai Creek Harbour.
Special viewing platforms were set up across Burj Park, the primary venue of the event, as well as across Downtown Dubai. For the first time, a dedicated space was curated for people with determination in South Ridge, overlooking Burj Park.
The entire show was displayed on big screens in Downtown Dubai. Live feeds of the event were telecast around the world in addition to a live Twitter feed and an online real-time feed.
Facts at a glance
- Emaar’s ‘Light Up 2018’ Downtown Dubai celebration sets a Guinness World Records title for the ‘largest light and sound show on a single building’ staged on Burj Khalifa
- Highest search light installation in the world – at 828 metres
- Highest laser installation in the world – at 828 metres
- Special tribute to the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
- Total area covered by the show on Burj Khalifa – 109,252 sq metres
- Total brightness of the show – 76.3 million lumens
- Total duration of preparation – 5 months
- Number of professionals on ground – over 300 including 100 rope-access experts
- Total weight of lights, beams and accessories – over 118.44 tonnes
- Total length of cables used – 28.7km, including 7.7km of power cables and 21km of network and signal cables
- Length of ropes used for rigging lights and lasers – 25.3km
- Weight of mounting equipment – 20 tonnes
- Number of specially modified outdoor lasers – 40
- Number of high power xenon search lights – 230
- Number of outdoor beam moving lights – 280
- Resolution of LED screens on Burj Khalifa – over 1.1 million pixels