The Singapore F1 street circuit is lit by the same Italian company that has designed lighting for stadiums of some Serie A teams

The Marina Bay street circuit is lit by 1600 lights.
Jarno Zaffelli

The 2018 Singapore Grand Prix (GP) kicks off today (Sept 14) and whether you catch it ‘live’ or on television, it’s quite a spectacle.

Some of it boils down to lighting as the Marina Bay street circuit comes to life against the backdrop of downtown Singapore. DZ Engineering is the company that has been undertaking that mammoth task since day one.

“We designed everything from scratch and had no reference back then during the first race in 2008 except we knew TV broadcasters needed 1500 lux minimum for HD production,” said general manager Roberto Grilli.

From there, the company came up with a solution and were careful about not blinding the drivers or compromising the comfort of the marshals and spectators.

The 1600 lights required for every race are from Phillips and look like any normal bulb except it has a special reflector. Set up takes three and a half months, while tear down requires a month.

The Singapore GP is the biggest lighting project DZ Engineering works on every year and the Italian company has also lit up churches, museums, castles and stadiums of Serie A teams Sassulo and Empoli back home. It has also consulted for AC Milan and Juventus through Phillips.

In addition to the F1 here, DZ Engineering is also showcasing the company’s diversity by lighting up Cube Temple, an art event which takes place concurrently during the race weekend. It features a wire mesh installation by Edoardo Tresoldi, who has been named by Forbes as one of the 30 Most Influential European Artists under 30.

Cube Temple by Edoardo Tresoldi will run alongside the Singapore GP.

Asked what is the main difference between lighting different venues, Grilli quips, “Light is light but using the right light in the right context is important for comfort. When you go to a restaurant, you will enjoy your food more if you can see what you are eating; the same way if your office has good lighting, you will go home feeling less tired after a day at work.”

He adds: “You also have to respect what you are lighting up – you don’t want to alter the architecture or the view for the spectator – and you’d want to make it look natural.”