AL DAVIS MEMORIAL TORCH LED FLAME
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
The Las Vegas Raiders are a professional American football team based in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The Raiders compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's American Football Conference West division.
ASTOUND Group was honored to work with the Las Vegas Raiders to design, engineer, fabricate and deliver the massive 30’ LED flame sculpture that would extend the legacy of Al Davis as it lives on in Allegiant Stadium perched atop the largest 3D-printed structure in the world.
“We set out to create an iconic Las Vegas landmark with this project and wanted to honor the Al Davis legacy while pulling the fans into the experience with a powerful multi-media display as part of the art piece”
Dale Morgan, CEO & Founder, ASTOUND Group
This central feature of the new Allegiant Stadium ties together the past, present, and future of the Raiders. In recognition of Al Davis' enduring vision that "the fire that burns brightest in the Raiders' organization is the will to win,” this piece is a timeless tribute to the legacy as the Raiders' long-time owner, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, AFL Coach of the Year, AFL Commissioner, and the architect of the Raiders' Commitment to Excellence. The torch serves as the centerpiece of the north end of the stadium, where the massive lanai doors can open behind the torch to reveal a “billion-dollar view” of the Las Vegas Strip.
Through close collaboration with the client, ASTOUND developed an eye-catching design for the massive torch flame featured in the main mezzanine of the Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium. Throughout the ideation and creative process, the concepts and curves of the flame were constantly reviewed by our in-house project designers and engineers to ensure the structural integrity and feasibility of the complex compound curve forms.
One of the biggest challenges was the compound curve of the final design. This challenge informed which LED products would be most effective for the complex curvature of the flames. Instead of rectangular LED panels which offered very little flexibility in any direction, the flames were clad in a new LED bar product which offered far more flexibility along all three axes.
Due to the scale and complexity of the project, digital modeling and virtual reality offered a seamless method for us to share and review the design development with our teams and client throughout the process. This allowed ASTOUND to present first-person perspective of the structure before anything was handed off to fabrication. To support the virtual environment, several physical scale models were created to communicate aesthetic details and options for features like the material finishes, exterior faceting, and LED integration.
Another challenge was adhering to Nevada fire codes, which required an integrated sprinkler system inside each flame. This presented another layer of waterproofing challenges when it came to the LED product and the thousands of feet of cables used to connect the LED bars to the centralized server at the base of the torch. Due to the extreme weather conditions in Las Vegas, the design and integration of the LED bars also had to include some breathing room between each bar to allow for optimal ventilation of the lighting components – which inevitably warm up even in the coolest conditions.
“Engineering at the earliest stage is an invaluable part of what we do. It is also one of the key components of what makes us different from others. We bring our engineers in early and no matter what version of the concept we are developing, it allows us to determine with near certainty all circumstances of the project within a vacuum. Any concerns are identified and addressed early to create more accuracy and ensure we understand every aspect of how this project could be completed.”
Parker, Project Development Director
The ASTOUND team approached this concept by removing all boundaries from the design and engineering process. This allowed the best creative minds in the company to produce multiple versions of the eternal flame that went beyond the requirements. Throughout the design process, several key considerations had to be explored to ensure a successful build and install. Some of these considerations included the flexibility of LED products, installation and weight restrictions, and part tracking of the hundreds of unique components. Once the design was finalized, the project development team and ASTOUND’s engineering partners began to solution how this project could be successfully executed.
Using digital modeling tools during the design phase, each flame was broken down into smaller units that allowed for easier access and manipulation within our facilities. The largest of the flames was broken down into three smaller units that would allow it to fit within our fabrication facility and rest comfortably on the flatbed trucks used to transport these across North America for install. Breaking up the flames also ensured that the weights did not exceed the truck and crane limitations, ultimately reducing risk and error during transportation and on-site install. The sub frames for each flame was constructed from 7X 3/16” structural steel tubing with mounting points engineered to hold each piece together safely and securely. Next, the LED carrier frames were built separately using Grade 50 steel of varying thickness cut precisely to shape using digital cutfiles fed to the water jet and welded together according to templates generated using digital models. Both frames were then painted black to protect the steel from rust. The final metal components were the 16 gauge #4 brushed stainless-steel bezels which were also waterjet cut and brakeformed . Throughout the fabrication, each of the thousands of individual metal components were engraved with a unique part code to help assembly in the shop and on-site during install. Once the LED carriers were secured onto the sub-frames, the formidable task of installing 3,228 individual LED bars (16 different lengths) could begin, starting by aligning and drilling all the necessary holes for mounting using digitally fabricated templates originated in the 3D model . Because of the unique geometry and center of gravity for each flame, we engineered custom lifting rigs to counter the asymmetrical weight of the flame pieces and ensure a perfectly upright lift when lifting the finished flames onto the trucks and from the trucks into the torch base.
The final design of the three unique flame pieces creates a dynamic display of twisting metal and brilliant digital content unified as one cohesive interactive sculpture. The flames appear to twist around one another, mimicking the organic form and movement of a real fire. When fully lit up, the brushed stainless steel bezels on the outside edges reflect the illuminated facets of the flame to create the awe-inspiring illusion of the sculpture being lit from every angle.
Each flame is constructed from a structural steel sub-frame with integrated supports for the custom LED carrier frames and stainless steel exterior bezel panels. The LED bars integrated throughout the exterior of the sculpture are all mappable to run custom video programming and digital content.