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Only in Abu Dhabi: A New Hotel With a 700-foot, LED Facade

Is the new Yas Hotel so tacky it’s cool, or simply a symbol of architectural ridiculousness and easy credit?

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Yas Marina

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Dubai might be crumbling, but the other big city in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, has a few projects that just squeaked past the financial meltdown. Chief among them: The $36 billion Yas Marina development. The centerpiece of which is the newly completed Yas Hotel.

Designed by Asymptote, the firm founded by Hani Rashid, the hotel’s big draw is a shell composed of over 5,300 diamond-shaped steel panels,
containing nearly 5,000 LEDs. It’s been billed as the world’s largest remote-controlled LED.

Machinery created by Arup Lighting and e:cue lighting control
allows the whole thing to programmed with light shows, as well as 3-D, low-res videos. (Is there a cable hookup? What about TiVo?)

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The hotel itself has 500 rooms–which are meant to command a steep price, since the entire complex’s other big draw is a Formula 1 circuit which winds through the very heart of the hotel.

And that, folks, is Dubai/Abu Dhabi architecture in a nutshell: F1 not enough? How about $36 billion in new buildings? New buildings not enough? How about one that lights up like the biggest, tackiest Christmas tree you’ve ever seen?

Tell me again how no one saw the credit bubble coming?

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Yas Marina

Yas Marina

[Images by Bjorn Moerman; check out more at Arch Daily]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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