The Constellation: The Founder’s Memorial, Abu Dhabi, for DPA Lighting

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Client: DPA Lighting
Location: Abu Dhabi
Category: Public Building

Lighting solutions provider DPA Lighting

Established in 1958 by Derek Phillips, early commissions for DPA included The Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong, Westminster Abbey and the original P&O Cruise Liner, The Oriana. Their latest project in Abu Dhabi is perhaps their most iconic: The Constellation, a monumental public artwork that forms the centrepiece of The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi.

This permanent installation is a tribute to the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. As a UAE resident of over 15 years, I was thrilled to be invited to document this seminal work.

The artwork was conceptualised and designed by artist Ralph Helmick, whose practice explores human perception through large-scale public sculptures and installations that invite optical discovery. The resulting images are nothing short of breathtaking.

The Challenge:

The shoot had to take place in the height of Summer, where temperatures in the UAE regularly reach 50 degrees Celsius. This is extremely challenging for both the team and the kit. The project is one of most significant monuments in The UAE, with no margin for error.

The Brief:

Capture images of an open public space, built to celebrate the leader of the nation.


Incredible, iconic sunset images which reflect the beauty and majesty of the Constellation.

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