Vegas – Built on Design, Reinvention and Evolution
As an architect, there was never a moment in Las Vegas where I wasn’t micro analyzing everything I saw, from faux copies of world landmarks, to more neon lights than I thought were possible to exist in one place. Vegas has been a town built on design, reinvention, and evolution. What started as a strip of motels with gaming dens evolved into luxury motor inns, then urbanized towers (largely and mostly in part to the legacy of Jay Sarno) and finally the mega resorts. These all in one hotels were designed to maximize visitor capacity while also making comfort a priority. And this all began inarguably through the experimentation of Steve Wynn, and his design prowess and team, along with the brilliant Roger Thomas. Wynn took all the lessons learned with the Golden Nuggets, both in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and turned them into the Mirage, the resort that became the model for themed resorts for years to come. That success has driven us through the wild success of Bellagio, Wynn and Encore, Wynn Macau and Cotai, and the wildly inventive ideas coming to this day with Wynn Paradise Park, Wynn West, and Wynn Boston Harbor.
Related: Retrospective: Wynn Palace and Design DNA
What Wynn Has Done for Me
Today though, the past caught up to the present and, deservedly so, Steve Wynn the mogul and name, the customer whisperer and man with a gift for making the masses come to his hotels, has been forced to resign in disgrace from his company. It is the end of an era, and one that makes me reflect on what Wynn has done for me. Not only has his design prowess and casual luxury ideal come to dominate those experiences that I expect when traveling to a casino resort, but it has also allowed me to make countless friendships in the community. Friendships through meet ups with those I’ve met through blogs like that at Wynn’s resorts, dissecting and drinking in the beauty. As much as the gorgeous design kept me, and others, in the mood for more (and also spread out into other resorts in response) the mutual love for the creation allowed us to embrace seeing what would be next. This is something that I thank his assembly of a design team and resort work force that define luxury for all people equally.
The Vision is Stronger than The Man
I am not going to judge Wynn on his actions, that’s not my place. What has happened is for him and him alone to face, but his ouster had me worry for a moment that maybe Wynn has finally lost the influence and that the exact things I appreciate at Wynn Resorts would leave. But then I remembered that despite the man being what he is as a mogul, the mogul has a well groomed workforce that is ready to carry on the traditions, from design and development to front end operations. The tumor has been identified, and although it’s in the figurative brain, fortunately it can and has been removed. The experiences gained by the rest of the neurons will heal and continue a legacy that was built on experience and not bad personal decisions. The body will survive and likely thrive.
By assembling a literal army, Wynn is really the only driving force in what has become a machine that is taking his ideas, evolving with them, and then making them their own. This leads to the breathtaking designs we’ve seen most lately at Wynn Palace. I am sad to see Steve go, but happy at the same time. As the title says, the King is gone, but the kingdom will learn from his mistakes and not only survive but thrive. The pressure will be on for the next resort, but I am still assured in my feelings that it will be another amazing milestone in design and customer experience.