or ·na ·ment \Ëˆor-nÉ’-mÉ’nt\ noun – a small, fancy object that is put on something else to make it more attractive; a way to make something look more attractive and less plain
Las Vegas, NV ”“ Summer 2011
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. From a design standpoint, that is most certainly not true. Quite the contrary, what happens in Vegas should travel east to our core communities. In the 70’s Vegas was the unlikely subject of a fairly well known research project conducted by renowned architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. As the late 80’s and early 90’s arrived, Vegas was once again being studied for the revolutionary resort developments of Steve Wynn, and finally, in the 2000’s, all eyes were on Sin City as a veritable pantheon of designers created City Center for MGM Resorts. The design and planning sensibilities ingrained in southern Nevada can offer lessons for any community yearning for a special experience in their downtown.
As you walk South Las Vegas Boulevard from Sands Avenue to Tropicana Avenue, you will be inundated with the neon jungle that is “the Strip,” but step inside any of these properties, and design master class unfolds before your very eyes. Every aspect of a Las Vegas casino is designed. The carpet pattern, the interior landscape, the furniture, the signage, the windows, the pools, the canopies, the railings, and even the aroma hanging in the air conditioned lobby, all carefully considered and designed. At their roots, each element serves a purpose, but does so with an appropriate amount of ornamentation added.
This patio at The Wynn is a fine example of the power of ornaments in the public realm. The railing is necessary, it keeps patrons from tumbling into the water, but it is executed with flair and elegance. Similarly, the supports for the umbrellas and even the fabric itself have subtle details that transport the guest and enhance the experience (of eating pizza and gelato here for lunch).
There is always an opportunity to add a bit more detail to your physical environment, to fancy it up a bit. Find a way to bring a little Vegas back home and notice the impact it can have on the sense of place and the experience for your residents and visitors.