Acolyte installation at Las Vegas Sphere ‘graceful,’ ‘breathtaking’: arc magazine

As Sphere first came to life, everyone gushed about the incredible exosphere and its revolutionary addition to the bright lights of the Vegas Strip. Now, people are starting to focus on the lush lighting inside. 

The December ‘23/January ‘24 issue of arc magazine reports how Acolyte architectural lighting can be found throughout the massive Sphere interior, including the glorious modern 8-story atrium with reflective black terrazzo floors. “Uninterrupted columns soaring through the breathtaking atrium space are outfitted with custom and programmable lighting that can transform the space for different events or shows,” arc writes, describing a “limitlessness” sensation. 

In the dramatic entry, “flexible RGBW programmable LED panels from Acolyte are concealed behind expansive acrylic panels, casting an even and adaptive luminance that gracefully follows the unique contours and shapes of the portals,” arc writes. 

Specified by the amazing design teams at ICRAVE and Journey Lighting through our great partners at Nevada Lighting, more than 1,700 customized Flexible BackLyte panels from Acolyte create unparalleled backlighting displays in arches and pillars that help “set the tone” but can be reinvented as part of an ever-changing Sphere user experience. Sphere also features more than 4,400 ft of color changing LED neon from Acolyte, including side-bending Neon Contour and Neon Contour Plus and top-bending Neon Apex.

“The primary objective was to create an innovative design for the ‘entertainment venue of the future,’ offering versatility in lighting design to accommodate a wide range of events and functions,” Brian Smith, director of lighting at Journey, tells arc. 

The intent, Smith says, “was to project light onto and from the architectural forms of the building. The integration of programmable RGBW lighting across the majority of the public-facing areas played a key role in shaping the ambience and immersive experience of the space.” 

The lighting system has “a personality that can speak to you,” Smith says. 

The $2.3 billion Sphere opened in the fall of 2023 with a run of 25 U2 concerts. It features a 580,000 sq ft high-definition programmable LED skin — or exosphere – that can be seen for miles from its home just off the Vegas strip. Standing at 366 ft tall and 516 ft wide, the unique arena is the brainchild of James Dolan, the owner of Madison Square Garden, the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers. It was designed by the noted global architecture firm Populous. Sphere has already shown great display versatility with stunning visuals that include moving effects like fireworks, a super-realistic Earth and moon, a massive NBA basketball, a checkered flag for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and even an eye-popping eyeball. 

Inside, the venue offers 875,000 sq ft over nine levels and seats more than 17,000 patrons. The interior includes an immersive 160,000 sq ft curved LED ceiling display and 1,800 high-tech HOLOPLOT speakers that promise an incomparable audio experience. Some 10,000 seats feature a haptic system that incorporates “4D” technology to impart sensory experiences like vibrations, breezes and smells. 

Read the full story of the interior lighting design for Sphere at arc-magazine.com (see issue 137) and be sure to check the specs for Flexible BackLyte, Neon Contour or Neon Contour Plus at AcolyteLED.com! 


Acolyte is a quality global division of GENLED Brands.