Mercedes Benz Stadium



If there was lighting Super Bowl, Atlanta’s New Mercedes-Benz Stadium would take home the ring


From the outside in, Atlanta’s new, $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium one-of-a-kind design makes a statement that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.  


Home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer(MLS), the amenity-filled stadium stands out during the day. And, thanks to aesthetically pleasing, high-efficiency, LED lighting solutions from Los Angeles-based Acclaim lighting, it also makes a bold statement at night.  


Completed in August 2017, the 305-foot-tall stadium’s distinctive facade consists of a light-weight polymer surface with adjustable opacity. This allows the facilities team to control lighting, day or night. What’s more, the stadium’s unique, pinwheel-like, oculus retractable roof permits natural light to enter the stadium in two ways: with the roof open or through the facility’s north and east ends. Reminiscent of the Roman Pantheon and a falcon’s wings, the roof is made up of eight triangular sections and can open or close within just 10 minutes. 


Inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, football fans encounter one of the most unique NFL experiences in the NFL. The stadium’s centerpiece, a 63,800 square-foot, halo-shaped video board spans the retractable roof’s perimeter. The 360-degree screen is 58 feet tall and runs 1,100 feet around the stadium, providing an immersive viewing experiences for 71,000 fans (with up to 80,000 seats possible for special events.). This includes 7,500 club seats and 180 luxury suites.


The lower deck encloses the playing field, and additional seating decks are located on both sides of the field. Not only can fans watch the action on the field or scoreboard, but they also can see the Atlanta skyline through the Windows to the City, which is located on the east end of the stadium. This floor-to-ceiling window allows natural light into the stadium and awesome views of downtown.


For those who want to wander from their seats during an event, the stadium’s numerous clubs and lounges, including the Champions Lounge, behind the Falcon’s bench, provide comfortable viewing areas. Open to all fans, the 100 Yard Club is a football field-length themed gathering and socializing area with concessions, bars and a beer garden. Altogether, the stadium has over 600 concession areas featuring many unique eating options. And, a 100-foot-high, mega-column 3D video board and multiple LED ribbon boards provide highlights and game statistics from kickoff to the end of the 4th quarter.


Team Approach to Winning Formula

Such a glorious facility, with many design nuances and different spaces, requires special lighting and a dedicated team of lighting experts. This team of specialists included: Donna Childs, Natalie Born, and Mark Carter with tvsdesign; Jay Wratten with WSP; Mike Gallo with HHRM Joint Venture; Gael Pirlot with ICU Joint Venture; and Janet Coley, Shane Wallace, and Jeff McCormick, with Ardd and Winter.


The team worked around numerous challenges while creating aesthetic and functional lighting for this one-of-a-kind structure. For many of those lighting requirements Acclaim Lighting was selected to do the job. For instance, the retractable roof; the architectural cove areas in the locker rooms, suites and corridors; accenting the locker room entrances; and illuminating art installations and sculptures.    


For the accent coves, said Shane Wallace, project technician for Ardd and Winter, “It was important to get fairly high lumen output and be able to dim without light flicker. In addition, the various mounting channel options allowed for many customized installations”


To achieve this, the lighting-design team selected Acclaim Lighting’s thin, flexible Flex II interior LED circuit strip, based on the product’s ability to provide lumen output that matched and exceeded the expectations. The circuit strip is available in multiple color options from 2400K and 2700K to 3000K, 3500K and 4000K. Its lumen output is 303 per foot at 4000K.  Flex II can be cut every 2 inches to create the exact length needed for specification applications, which enables easier precise installations.


The Flex II’s combination of high output and low profile provided the ideal solution for multiple accent cove applications: locker room entrances and coves; under cabinet and around countertops and millwork in the suites; in the North Founders Club, Owner’s Suite, VIP Elevator Lobby Field Level VIP Club; and at the bars at Bottle Stacks. 


“Acclaim’s LED solution provided the flexibility for cleanly integrating into the many architectural details across the project.” said architectural lighting designer Wratten. “With over 5 miles of linear LED tape on the project, Acclaim’s many options allowed us to minimize vendor solutions and simplify maintenance for the Owner”


For the roof pedals, the stadium required a high efficiency fixture that could generate lighting evenly even illuminations at close range. The team selected Dyna Drum SO QW, a high-output, compact outdoor LED flood fixture for large scale façade lighting, as well as area flood lighting.  The compact Dyna Drum SO is only 12.5” wide, 10.1” high and 11” in diameter only consumes 120 watts. The IP66-rated LED flood fixture has beam angles of 6 degrees standard, with 25-, 40- and 60-degree spread lens options. 

“The Dyna Drums give a nice glow to the roof and provides the opportunity to program special effects for fan enjoyment,” Wallace said.  “Dyna Drum units were also specified for the catwalk LED flag spotlight, and lighting the soccer ball sculpture.” 


In the North Founders Club, Acclaim Lighting’s DynaGraze Exterior HO, a high-output, linear, single-color fixture, is used for grazing.  The fixture offers multiple beam angles, color temperatures and dimming capabilities.


In addition, Dyna Flood SO was specified for the area outside of the VIP Club which will be used to up light the players as they pass by on their way to and from the field. It was selected based on its ability to provide high-powered illumination with cutoff to avoid glare.  The unit head pivots 180º to provide the exact angle needed for the application.


“We sought a lighting system that was at once functional, efficient and aesthetic, and Acclaim delivered,” Wallace said. “The architectural coves look amazing, and the Dyna Drums give the roof a nice glow, especially with the different programmed effects. It’s safe to say the stadium really stands out in the city’s skyline with this lighting scheme.”