Anolis on Top in Sandton

Sandton City Office Tower is one of the landmarks of this buzzing premium commercial and exclusive residential district of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Recently the building’s owners and operators Liberty Properties approached DWR’s architectural lighting and installations division and asked if they would propose a lighting scheme for its distinctive 40 x 40 metre pyramid shaped ‘cap’, which tops the 110 metre / 463 ft. high, 22-storey skyscraper providing commercial office space.

The metal louvred cap protrudes 15 metres above the roof level of the building, and the 3 metre by 3 metre spire towers 21 metres above that.

The client’s brief was simply for “colour changing” lights, so DWR’s Johnny Scholtz suggested several options for their consideration… and the chosen scheme involves 84 Anolis LED fixtures.

These are divided into 60 x ArcLine Outdoor Optic 36 RGBs with 31-degree lenses, utilised for the side panels and base of the cap, and 24 x Divine 160 RGBWs, sixteen fitted with 41-degree lenses plus eight with 24-degree lenses to precisely fill the cap spire with beautiful, rich and colour changing luminescence.

The building was first opened in 1973 and dominated Sandton’s skyline for four decades. However recent new waves of construction and investment have resulted in a flurry of new tall buildings, propelling the owners to engage in a spectacular revamp that started in 2014. This has seen the replacement of all the external cladding around the concrete structure in a spectacular upgrade to keep it relevant and fluid amidst an ever-changing cityscape.

Johnny looked at all the options for replacing the aging old white LED installation already on the cap – in which they had not been involved – and put together the Anolis package.

“I needed something that would – firstly – offer excellent colours, as that was their main stipulation – then it had to look fantastic, be reliable, durable and cost effective. Anolis ticked all the boxes” he explained.

The ArcLine fixtures are located on and around the existing roof sections forming the base of the steel structure which is supporting the cap’s metal flats. They evenly wash these fasciae as they rise above the ‘Sandton City Tower’ sign.

The spire part of the cap is lit from the inside by the Divines, which are strategically positioned and secured to concrete plinths as well as to the peak’s structural I-beams via special brackets designed and fabricated by DWR.

The fixtures are in a variety of positions, optimised to give the most comprehensive coverage beaming right up the tower.

“Those Divines are punchy as hell and the quality of the light is superb” declared Johnny, who was well impressed with the results.

“We knew that these Anolis fixtures would ensure the range of colours the client wanted” he stated. These colours are in addition to the signature blue of Liberty’s corporate ident. The design and installation give them the flexibility to be able to turn the cap different colours for special occasions like Christmas and other commemorative occasions or special events.

The Anolis fixtures are all powered by Anolis’s ArcControl DRS (DIN Rail System) which Johnny states is “amazing”! It is a modular system which is exactly what the project needed.

The small and compact design concept of the Anolis DRS means just the power elements needed for the job can be installed at the time – ideal for a neat, cost efficient solution which has the bonus of being fully – and easily – expandable for the future should more fixtures be added to a scheme.

Johnny and DWR have used DRS for previous projects and will continue to spec them going forward.

The lights are all controlled by a Virtual Productions QuadCore PC running their proprietary Kiosk software. Johnny and the team programmed a range of sequences in addition to the standard colour scheme which can be accessed by the client as needed.

The building now really stands out like a tasteful beacon and can be seen from many miles away including downtown Johannesburg and in all the neighbouring suburbs… and the client is delighted.

During the lighting installation process – undertaken and commissioned by a team from DWR co-ordinated and overseen by Johnny – all those working on the project were able to enjoy some incredible panoramic views stretching right across the city!

Three years ago, DWR also installed a substantial Anolis lighting system illuminating the roof of the new Protea Court shopping centre just across the road in Sandton, and in the last year they have completed a stunning lighting scheme also using Anolis for the new twisting skyscraper at Waterfall City, Midrand which is now the HQ of PwC.

Photos: Louise Stickland

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