Excellent Design Creates Better Performance

Monday, May 23, 2011

David Rockwell's Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas

During a dozen years designing in Sin City, Interior Design Hall of Fame member David Rockwell has racked up hundreds of thousands of square feet.But no project had assembled a cast of characters as high-rolling as this one. Arquitectonica built the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a two-tower newcomer on the Strip, and the Rockwell Group joined firms including Jeffrey Beers International, Bentel & Bentel, Studio Gaia, and Tihany Design in completing the interiors.

Rockwell got to design 3,000 guest rooms and suites, two lobbies, three lounges, and a restaurant as well as conceiving the overall concept. "So much of Vegas is static," he says. "I proposed a kinetic yet intimate environment."

That takes shape in each lobby, where he replaced the typically cold, long reception counter with an octet of baroque red desks. Old World meets high tech with the lobby's showstopper, eight massive square columns surfaced with grids of video screens presenting a panoply of moving and changing images, from dancers to bubbles.

The Chandelier lounge, a freestanding triple-decker structure, gets its name from the glittering drapery that Rockwell layered around the perimeter. Guests feel like they're inside an immense light fixture as they survey the casino below.

At the restaurant Jaleo, an import from Washington, vibrant decor references the chef's native Spain. Jaime HayĆ³n's studio designed the black leather-upholstered dining chairs, and the wall covering suggests the lace of a mantilla. Mounted on the wall, hunting-trophy style, there's even a humorous bull's head. To serve as a waiting area for the hotel's 13 restaurants, Rockwell created the Commons, its eclectic seating groups topped by a swirling stained-glass ceiling.

In all seven guest-room types, surprises await. Open the closet door, for example, and discover the winking ladies on wallpaper by Piero Fornasetti.

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