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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Photo Credits: Courtesy of 4Wall Entertainment

Eye-popping light transforms a landmark casino

There’s no shortage of colorful lighting in Las Vegas - arguably the city’s most unmistakable hallmark. But along with the big, bright lighting comes big, burdensome maintenance and expense. How can a resort up its “cool factor” while lowering costs and conserving energy at the same time? All bets are on intelligent LED lighting from Color Kinetics.

The famed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino packs crowds with its hip mix of luxury, entertainment, and high-stakes excitement. Yet its nearly 10-year-old exterior lighting system was proving heavy on maintenance requirements and light on creative flexibility. Not anymore. Through a collaborative effort between Hard Rock lighting designer Warwick Stone and 4Wall Entertainment, a full-service entertainment lighting company, the popular resort now boasts an eye-popping exterior that’s lit with the latest in cutting-edge LED lighting. Most remarkably, according to a cost analysis, the new high-tech lighting scheme will net approximately $41,000 per year in operational savings!

The project team was tasked with generating grand-scale, color-changing effects to wash up the 120-foot façade with high output and color saturation. 4Wall assembled custom fixtures using 5 ColorBlast 12 units each; the bottom units with frosted lenses to cast a wide beam angle, and the top units with clear lenses to maximize upward throw (that’s 10 stories illuminated by LEDs!). A total of 300 ColorBlast 12 units were installed in this fashion to wash the façade with vibrant, dynamic color. Unlike the previous, metal halide lighting scheme, which allowed for single-color columns of light with dichroic filters, the LED-based units enable a host of multi-color chases within a single column. They also make it simple to program and run customized light shows according to special events, attractions and holidays using the resort’s existing DMX control system. The compact, rugged units are IP66-rated and can withstand the outdoor elements.

On top of the aesthetic enhancement, ease of maintenance and energy conservation were key considerations for the project team. Color Kinetics delivered on both fronts. The LED-based units are projected to draw approximately $1,900 in electricity within one year, while the previous metal halide-based fixtures drew approximately $18,000 annually. The estimated maintenance expense for the LED-based units is $600, while the maintenance expense for the previous fixtures was roughly $25,000 - and that doesn’t include the additional costs of replacing the dichroic filters and ballasts on a periodic basis!

This illumination makeover proves that LEDs are right at home in Vegas, where bang for the buck is king.
Project credits



Warwick Stone, Lighting Designer, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino


Buddy Pope, 4Wall Entertainment


Shaun Ballew, 4Wall Entertainment


John Fernandez, 4Wall Entertainment


Todd VonBastiaans, Alios

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