Posted by: Posterscope SA | April 30, 2010

Lukas Rand Tower Spectacular

Telkom is a third tier sponsor of the FIFA 2010 World Cup and had identified buildings and structures to use for branding purposes for the soccer world cup. The original brief was that Graphic Wizard (Pty) Ltd had to manufacture and erect a perfectly round soccer ball on Lukas Rand Tower in Pretoria, South Africa as per the original artwork supplied. The tower also had to be wrapped with PVC banners showing Telkom’s commitment to the FIFA 2010 World Cup and the host city of Tswane. The contract was assigned in 2008 end and completed by September 2009.

Project planning

Prior to the manufacturing and installation, Graphic Wizard had to get approval from Tswane Council to erect a soccer ball of a particular nature and size, and also to wrap the tower with the proposed banners. The engineers who designed Lukas Rand Tower were consulted to observe weight and size of the installation and wind load. However, the soccer ball was designed by the engineer team appointed by Graphic Wizard and an independent engineering company of Telkom approved the same. Graphic Wizard also had to consult with the local residents association for approval as well as GDACE who gave the final go-ahead from the Gauteng Government. The environmental impact assessment took around three months to finalise with much public participation from local residents, business and any other party that needed to comment. Further to this, Graphic Wizard had to ensure that all elements comprising this installation were readily available in order to meet the client’s expectations. The final concept was to transform the existing unbranded tower to one that exhibited a huge soccer ball and draped banners depicting Telkom’s commitment and sponsorship of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Materials and dimensions

The football is manufactured from steel tubing bent to the required sizes and engineered with expansion and contraction flanges to accommodate hot and cold conditions and also movement as a result of wind load. The soccer ball is covered with a fibreglass skin manufactured and moulded off-site and then by means of rope access lifted and fixed to the steel structure. There are 96 of these skins in total making up the entire soccer ball being 24 metres in diameter, weighing around 50 tonnes and the banners draping the tower weigh approximately half tonne each and comprising 1000 sq metre. The entire structure is fixed to the centre column of the tower by means of chemical anchors. The banners draping the tower are a mesh product and are tensioned by means of cable and bungee systems. The banners are 15×72 metres of which there are three wrapping the entire legs of the tower. The lighting used to illuminate the soccer ball and banners is a low energy installation, which has reduced the lighting load on the tower as a result of new technology used. In terms of the entire electrical installation, watts drawn from the main power source is near about 40 amps per phase and in terms of original brief from Telkom. The entire project had to be environment friendly and the additional illumination installed to illuminate the banners also needed to be energy efficient.

Assembling treatments

The project that took nine months to complete had faced challenges in hauling, assembling and attaching the structure to the tower by means of rope-access at height. In terms of health & safety limitations and guidelines Graphic Wizard was not allowed to continue construction under severe conditions. The structure was designed with a floating equator which accurately put the company to the test when connecting nine-metre beams to each other at height. The banners were also floated by means of rope access. And due to the length of the banners they had to lower them by means of mechanical winches in order to protect from damage during uplifting.

Helping hands

Graphic Wizard being the main contractor had sub-contracted various companies such as Signsmith, ASAP Rope Access Technologies, Umbani Electrical and Procom. Graphic Wizard also had to consult with Telkom’s approved engineers as well as health and safety officials to ensure that the project was a success.
Big recognition
The tower was adjudicated by the Guinness World Records company and recorded as a world record of being the ‘biggest artificial soccer ball manufactured’ and installed that high. This announcement was made at the launch of the Lukas Rand Tower by the local representatives of Guinness World Records on September 30, 2009 and will appear in the 2011 edition of the Guinness World Record Book. Anyone who travels towards Pretoria on the Ben Schoeman/N14 Highway will be able to see the new face of Lukas Rand Tower while approaching the fountains circle. The tower is right opposite UNISA and is clearly visible from a far distance.


Heather-Leigh Petzer
OOH Planner

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