Underwater windows by Hydrosight

© Hydrosight

Live music in front of underwater windows

To attract a larger number of tourists to their Paparazzi Night Club in Dar es Salaam, the operators used PLEXIGLAS® to convert their music club into a visitor’s attraction.

Tourists interested in Tanzania mostly think about Zanzibar, white sand beaches and mangrove forests. In most cases, Dar es Salaam does not make its way onto the travel itinerary. The political capital does not just offer a historical insight into the German colonial era. The Oyster Bay entertainment district is an insider tip. In order to set their club apart from the competition, two Swiss expats were looking for something unique.

What it comes down to with underwater windows made of PLEXIGLAS®

“For a pool with a depth of up to 1.5 meters, the PLEXIGLAS® panel has to be at least 40 millimeters thick,” says Moritz Meinesz, Managing Director of Hydrosight. This thickness is necessary for the acrylic glass panel to withstand the water pressure and depends on the depth at which the underwater window is to be installed. “Naturally, the size of the acrylic glass window also plays an essential role here,” says Meinesz.

A special view into the pool

Their idea was to install a transparent panel in the Paparazzi Night Club in order to provide visitors with a direct look into the pool of the Slipway Hotel, to which the music club belongs. “During the day, guests can sit on bar stools and watch people swim in the pool. In the dark, the pool illuminates the basement club and creates totally unique light effects,” explains Moritz Meinesz. The Managing Director of Hydrosight, a company that specializes in underwater windows made of PLEXIGLAS®, helped the operators to implement this unique concept for their night club.

By now, he has lost count of the number of pools, dip tanks and underwater worlds his company has equipped with his acrylic glass products. “Even though this was our first pool in Tanzania,” the expert continues, “it was not the first transparent PLEXIGLAS® panel to be used as visually appealing room lighting. There’s certainly a trend emerging in this field of application.” Röhm’s brand acrylic glass has the advantage that it is absolutely colorless and provides an undistorted view into the pool. “This allows you to see the colors and proportions as they really are, without any green tint or cloudiness,” explains Meinesz.

Meinesz usually delivers the transparent PLEXIGLAS® panels in such a way that the customer can assemble them on site. “This time, I wanted to assemble the panels myself,” said the Managing Director from Emmerich. So he shipped the 40-millimeter-thick, three-meter-wide and 80-centimeter-high panel made of PLEXIGLAS® by sea freight and flew behind. The conditions in Tanzania are different to Europe. “The high temperatures alone did not make the installation process any easier,” says the expert.

“The fact that PLEXIGLAS® is much lighter than glass makes it easier for us to install it. It is also extremely strong. Should the PLEXIGLAS® ever fall down or not hold up in a silicone coating, it won’t break.”

Moritz Meinesz
Managing Director, Hydrosight

PLEXIGLAS® expands when exposed to heat

“Due to the heat in Tanzania and the intensity of the sun, you have to bear in mind a few things when installing PLEXIGLAS® panels,” says Meinesz. “I really would have liked to stretch a sun umbrella in front of the structure,” he says. After all, there is no cooling pool water during the installation of the acrylic glass panels. “As a design engineer, you have got to allow for the fact that the transparent PLEXIGLAS® panels can expand when exposed to heat,” explains the expert. In order to ensure that the PLEXIGLAS® panel does not press too much against the concrete wall at high temperatures and thus becomes damaged, it is framed in a 30 mm silicone seam. “This way, it is ensured that the acrylic glass panel can expand and contract depending on the ambient temperature,” says Meinesz. After all, the panel also has to withstand the constant pressure of around 300,000 liters of water.