Hotel Casino Chaves — inspired by light

Chaves, Portugal

Within five minutes’ drive of the historic centre of Chaves, a city in northern Portugal, the Hotel Casino Chaves is located in beautiful green surroundings overlooking the mountains between the Minho region and Trás-os-Montes.

The town of Chaves itself has great historical importance with reminders of the 17th century; medieval forts, an imposing castle and Roman bridge among pilgrim sites and churches.

The Hotel Casino Chaves is a four-star hotel with a driving range, football field, complete health club and above all a Casino with over 300 slot machines and 14 gaming tables. The hotel itself consists of 72 rooms and six suites, bars, gourmet restaurant and lobbies; versatile areas with multiple purposes of use.


As Raul Serafim from RS e ASSOCIADOS – the consultant and lighting designer for Hotel Casino Chaves – says: “When designing the lighting for this Hotel Casino, it was necessary to keep it fresh and leave it open for daily life activities and not only for the night-time as these types of Hotel Casinos are usually for”. Mr. Serafim continues: “Friendly but discrete areas still keeping the strict directives of glamour and colour of the gaming business was one of the main targets. One of the biggest challenges in the project was to create ambiences that the customer, decorator and architect agreed on in every single area. This was greatly helped and supported by JFS-Sistemas.”

“The lighting control system is the most important innovator in Hotel Casino Chaves, as in all Solverde Casinos and Hotels”, says the company’s technical director, Mr. Vasco Santos. The lighting control is managed with two systems that complement each other; the architectural lighting control from Helvar complemented by the Building Management System (BMS). The BMS system controls all on/off circuits in all technical areas and where architectural control is not needed. In some areas the BMS also controls one call scenes with Helvar interfaces.

The Helvar system controls all areas related to architectural lighting. That consists of all dimming and colour changing effects also including the DMX protocol for LED’s. The Helvar system was projected, specified, installed and programmed by JFS-Sistemas, Helvar’s Certified Partner in Portugal.

For João Fontes from JFS-Sistemas, the project was ambitious and challenging. Within only two months JFS-Sistemas accomplished the architectural lighting from zero to the first phase, the Casino; a record time for this size of a system. Still the project has been very rewarding, not only because of the record time in accomplishing the system.


The system programming is maintained with Helvar Workshop software that is a very efficient tool to control, monitor and maintain lighting systems. As Vasco Santos says, it is user friendly but very powerful. “It permits reconfiguration of all lighting with very simple steps, but compared to the possibilities we were shown during the training course, we are not yet using it at 100%” Santos says.

About the importance of lighting control João Fontes says: “People who visits these kinds of sites – hotels, casinos, museums, shopping malls etc. – don’t realise that the ambiences created depend 90% on the lighting control. Depending on the size of the system, the great amount of equipment and many hours of work in planning, installation, commissioning and programming are not usually apparent. The lighting control system is equipment that, although indispensable, is invisible.”

Consultant, Lighting Designer: Raul Serafim / RS e ASSOCIADOS Architectural Lighting: JFS-Sistemas

Chaves, Portugal