Several years ago, I remember taking a look at a 3-d model of one of the most ambitious constructions projects of the United States. Private investment was able to attract architects such as Cesar Pelli, Helmut Jahn and Daniel Libeskind to Las Vegas. While looking carefully at the model from different perspectives, I wondered if the project was ever going to be completed.
Fast forwarding to the first trimester of 2010, I found myself surrounded by the gravity defying angles and shiny materials of the CityCenter. A mix of emotions rushed thru my body. I was blown away by the aesthetical appeal of the new compound. At the same time, the place felt like most unVegas places I had ever seen.
When I first visited the city (circa 2003), the major attractions were the large themed resorts and casinos (they still are in some way). For elegance, The Bellagio and The Caesar’s Palace were visited.
‘Old School Buildings’
During those times, the Stardust was still around (and the Sahara which was closed not so long time ago). The Wynn and the Encore weren’t there and I can’t even remember what was in the lot occupied nowadays by the CityCenter.
Las Vegas can be seen as a true chameleon. It has the power to transform itself very often. This is not a rant. I am sure people who have known the city for way more years than me, are the ones who can give a more objective account of how things have changed.
However, the new developments in the city are moving towards the cutting edge side of architecture and design.
CityCenter is not the only place counting with world renowned creators. Frank Gehry designed his first building in the city (Lou Ruvo Alzheimer’s Institute). Modern hotel propositions such as the Echelon and the Fontainebleau are currently under development.
The kitschy (sometimes odd looking) Roman gods statues, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Venetian canals are being replaced by abstract sculptures, fine art and unusual materials.
‘Classic Interiors (Caesars Palace Statues and The Bellagio Conservatory)’
‘Modern Design for Interiors’
Even Downtown is going thru a revitalization phase. Parks, cafes, businesses, adaptable buildings and residential complexes are some of the ideas that some visionaries expect to become a reality in less than five years. In addition, there are plans to build a container park in the area.
Design is ‘in’ this area too. Just take a look at the improvements made in the Arts District and to the Hotel El Cortez and Lady Luck. There are new additions to the scene like the Mob Museum, Neon Museum, Symphony Park and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The new City Hall and Regional Transportation Center are progressing as expected.
And believe it or not, even the eating scene is being revolutionized. The venerable buffet is being replaced by fine dining options. Hotels in Las Vegas such as the Mandalay, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, Paris Paris and The Palazzo had invited star chefs (Joel Robuchon, Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Guy Savoy, Alain Ducasse) to develop concepts appealing to a more exigent taste. So, if your weak spot is the finer cooking, you should consider booking a stay in one of these hotels.
Resorts are also investing in restaurant spaces out of the norm. For example, Beijing Noodle No. 9 (a Chinese restaurant) has walls and ceilings made of carved steel backlit by LED lights.
Looks like Vegas is becoming the city of the future. Don’t get me wrong. The opportunity to enjoy all these new initiatives feels like a breath of fresh air (especially after you visit the city many times). However, I still enjoy getting under the Eiffel Tower or admiring the arches of the Dodge’s Palace (and I still like the buffets). But the question is the following; will these places survive the test of time?
How do you feel about the transformation of Las Vegas?