European Steel Design Awards 2021 – Czech Republic


The largest jewel and lighting

Laudation: The tradition of Chinese Dragons has been stretched to a new dimension of monumental lightness beyond the known. A creative and optimal truss structure perfectly hides behind the Bohemian crystal shape. Structural engi- neering which reminds of watchmaking in precision and detailed manufacturing.

Project ownerImperial Palace Casino 
LocationImperial Palace Casino, Saipan 
ArchitectLASVITPetr Slavíček
Structural EngineerEXCONJindřich Beran
ContractorLASVITPetr Slavíček
Date of CompletionMay 2021 
Steel Tonnage40 tons 

image_001.jpg © Lasvit, s.r.o.
© Lasvit, s.r.o.

Two dragons in the atrium of a casino on Saipan island in the middle of the Pacific. Each of them on a scale that the world has not seen before.


Two dragons fighting over a flaming pearl – you can find this in Chinese mythology, and now also in reality in the Imperial Palace Casino Saipan. Bohemian crystal is made of earth, fire, water and air. But dragons are the symbiosis of these four elements as a noble and magnificent creature. Traditional Chinese dragons combine features of various animals: a crocodile head, rabbit eyes, deer horns, snake neck, frog belly, carp scales, tiger paws and hawk claws. A dragon symbolically acquires the characteristics of each of these animals. The dragons have five fin- gers on each foot represent the ancient Emperor. These unique dragons connected two traditional types of crafts – glass- making and metalworking.

image_002.jpg © Lasvit, s.r.o.
© Lasvit, s.r.o.

image_003.jpg © Lasvit, s.r.o.
© Lasvit, s.r.o.


The support of the dragon are three-dimensional lattice structures made of cir- cular tubes with circular transverse reinforcements, which forms the complete shape and line of the body – 32 m long, with an outline height of 13 m. This is suspended on 16 mm stainless steel ropes including tensioning elements and strain gauges. The structure has to carry the weight of the glass scale shell, further components such as claws, thorns or the tail but also electrical equipment and must also resist earthquake and typhoons rocking the building it is suspended to.

Fabrication & erection

As the project is that unique the entire load-bearing structure was completely pre-assembled in the workshop to fix weight distributions and mounting proce- dures. The assembly in the casino atrium on Saipan had then to be done accurately only with permanent hinges and assembly hoists. The forces in the ropes were measure with strain gauges to check the forces anchored to the building. There are now 2.5 million crystals covering the scales on the dragon’s body. Each is illuminated so the dragon can change from green to red almost instantly.

image_004.jpg © Lasvit, s.r.o.
© Excon, a.s.

image_005.jpg © Lasvit, s.r.o.
© Lasvit, s.r.o.

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