Spectacular event location features the Warm Edge system
from H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING
Glass parallelograms for the Sphere in Las Vegas
The Sphere is now acknowledged as the world’s largest spherical structure. The new event centre in the casino city of Las Vegas, USA, is attracting worldwide attention with its sensational LED outer shell. The structure also conceals insulating glass units in the form of parallelograms. They are equipped with the robust and exceptionally durable Warm Edge system from sealant and adhesive manufacturer H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING, which enables tremendous design freedom thanks to robot-assisted production.
“A truly stunning event location”, “the largest LED screen of all times”, “the most expensive building in the city” or simply “the next World Wonder” – the Sphere in Las Vegas, USA, is triggering exuberant reactions all over the world. The new event centre is located east of the famous Las Vegas Strip close to the Venetian Resort luxury hotel – and now plays a significant role in shaping the appearance of the downtown area. With the dimensions of the giant sphere at 112 metres high and 157 metres wide it surpasses those of all existing spherical structures. Even New York’s Statue of Liberty or the twin towers of Munich’s Frauenkirche could disappear under the dome. The Sphere, however, is being celebrated as the new iconic landmark of the Las Vegas skyline primarily for what is happening on its shell. It is almost entirely constructed as an LED display and first demonstrated its breathtaking capabilities on 4 July 2023, America’s Independence Day when videos of the sensational light show went viral on social media worldwide.
A 2.3 billion US dollar mega-project
Since then, some 1.2 million individually controllable LED elements have been illuminating the sky of the Mojave Desert in Nevada and displaying every conceivable form of light animation over an area of 54,000 square metres. At times a basketball, a globe, fireworks or even an underwater world, the possibilities of the Sphere’s programmable lighting are virtually inexhaustible and nothing less than awe-inspiring. Architecture becomes light, shapes appear to dissolve and reassemble, entertainment and architecture merge into one.
The Sphere is the brainchild of the American Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), which brought numerous construction and technology partners on board to plan and implement the project. The building has been under construction on and off since 2018 and was completed in the summer of 2023 – a mega-project that cost roughly 2.3 billion US dollars.
Double spherical construction with LED technology outside and inside
The structure itself comprises two spheres nested inside each other with the geographical shape resting flattened on the ground. Underneath the LED-clad steel skeleton of the outer skin, the so-called exosphere, there is a smaller sphere, also built on the basis of a steel skeleton, but covered with an additional concrete coating. The interior of the building resembles an amphitheatre with a stage and steeply rising tiers. The cantilevered auditorium extends over nine storeys and is also lined with an LED screen that spreads almost entirely over the sides and the domed roof. Expansive video projections combined with a huge sound system create an immersive visitor experience that is further enhanced by haptic experiences such as moving seats, scents and wind. In the future, the Sphere will offer some 20,000 seats for exceptional live events. For the grand opening on 29 September 2023, the Irish rock band U2 will be doing the honours.
Insulating glass units in unusual shapes
In addition to the LED elements, hundreds of state-of-the-art insulating glass units are built into the overall structure. The majority of them do not feature the usual 90-degree corner angles, but instead correspond to the shape of a parallelogram. This was not only challenging when producing the units, but also when it came to ensure the integrity of the glass’ edge seal. Insulating glass units with the Warm Edge system from H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING were used for the Sphere. The reactive thermoplastic spacer system boasts a distinctive appearance, maximum energy efficiency and a long service life. Warm Edge technology achieves this thanks to its unique structure: It consists of only one sealant, which is applied fully automatically by a robot and chemically bonds with both the glass surface and the silicone secondary sealant. As a result, the entire edge seal ‘fuses’ into a flexible, exceptionally resilient unit with superb gas-tightness and maximum service life.
Durable Warm Edge insulation from H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING
The durability of the edge seal is paramount – especially under high thermal loads and in extreme climatic zones such as Las Vegas. The insulating glass units need to remain energy-efficient over the long term and insulate the building from heat penetration or heat loss. Insulating glass with the elastic Warm Edge system from H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING has proven itself to be extraordinarily robust, resilient and durable in this respect.
At the same time, the precise, robot-assisted application of the black sealant enables glass units with unusual shapes, such as the parallelograms at the Sphere, to be produced fully automatically and consistently achieving the highest quality standards. The shape and size of the insulating glass are virtually irrelevant. Despite very acute angles, organically flowing shapes at the edges of the glass or complex geometries – this production method ensures complete design freedom. Moreover, the insulating glass units do not exhibit any misalignment of the Warm Edge and offer an unobstructed view, since the black edge seal prevents any disturbing light reflections from appearing in the cavity between the panes. The Warm Edge system from H.B. Fuller | KÖMMERLING is perfectly suited for worldwide use in glass architecture with the most ambitious requirements.
About H.B. Fuller
Kömmerling Chemische Fabrik GmbH has been part of H.B. Fuller group for over six years. Since 1887, the US-based company has been a leading global adhesives provider focusing on perfecting adhesives and sealants to improve products and lives. With fiscal 2022 net revenue of $3.75 billion, H.B. Fuller’s commitment to innovation and sustainable adhesive solutions brings together people, products and processes that answer and solve some of the world's biggest challenges. Our reliable, responsive service creates lasting, rewarding connections with customers in electronics, disposable hygiene, medical, transportation, aerospace, clean energy, packaging, construction, woodworking, general industries and other consumer businesses. And, our promise to our people connects them with opportunities to innovate and thrive. Learn more: https://www.hbfuller.com/.