Le Meridien Hotel, Dubai

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When the prestigious five star Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai was extended, J&C Joel designed, manufactured and installed nine motorised timber shutters manufactured from wenge wood, that could be raised and lowered to ‘diffuse’ direct sunlight into the hotel’s new restaurant and foyer area.

The architectural concept was for the shutters to be made from a distinctive dark hardwood and for the shutters to have the appearance of being unsupported within each window reveal. The nine shutters were required to be various sizes, the largest being 6.5 metres wide and 5.8 metres high and weighing in at close to 1,800kg.

The J&C Joel Project Team worked in conjunction with a specialist UK joinery company to produce a modular frame design that could be assembled/inspected off-site and then dismantled to be shipped in temperature-controlled containers for re-assembly on site.

Each timber panel has steel rods hidden within the main vertical timbers to ensure the overall load is transferred to a structural steel member at the head of the frame. Each panel section had to be installed so that they fitted together perfectly for maximum aesthetic effect and with great care to ensure no damage to the timber members.

An independent hoist system for each panel is located in a dedicated plant room above the restaurant/foyer, the system for each is comprised of a double-braked, twin-wire hoist assembly, hauling 10mm diameter steel suspension cables, which pass around ball-raced diversion pulleys and through special penetrations in the concrete roof slab to terminate horizontally and completely unseen within the steel member.