Every year, over 10,000 designers, architects, and hoteliers from all across the globe converge in Las Vegas in May to attend HD Expo, the world’s largest trade show for the Hospitality Industry. Design Intervention had been invited by one of the leading manufacturers of outdoor furniture to design a signature piece for their collection and we were launching this new product at the HD Expo. I was so excited: this was our first product launch at a major International show and I could not wait to show the world what our humble Singapore Studio could do!
This was my first visit to Las Vegas. Stepping out of the airport, was like walking onto a different planet, even the sky is different. Never before have I seen a sky so blue. It was virtually cobalt, and totally cloudless as if someone had photoshopped away the flaws and intensified the colour, to boot.
Las Vegas is Big with a capital B. Big, Bright, Brash and Bold and yes beautiful too. I have to admit, there is a beauty in the honesty: the city is unapologetically brazen, embracing the moniker “Sin City” with pride and aplomb. The city reminds me of a giant theme park (there is even a roller coaster snaking the strip). Hotels are themed like Disney land rides, Treasure Island, Excalibur, Luxor, the list goes on…
Even the candy bars are bigger in Vegas!
Remind you of Disney Land?
But this is a theme park on steroids and R rated! Trucks drive up and down the strip displaying billboards showing virtually naked women with the caption “these girls want to meet you” with a contact number below. Revelers wander the sidewalks, bottles of beer in hand (not one but two of course) or with liter flasks of cocktails… This is not a place for kids! There is no pretense at subtlety or sophistication, Las Vegas is an “in your face” assault on the senses: it is a place that you will never forget!
There are more bright lights than Piccadilly Circus, billboards abound and the air is thick with the sounds of sirens, horns and the deep growl of sports engines, everything is bigger, bolder and louder than anywhere else I have visited. As a designer, I can’t help but be mesmerized by this sensory overload that is the Las Vegas Strip: a 5 km stretch, one resort after another, each attempting to outdo the others with show stopping designs.
From the giant Murano glass chandelier at the Bellagio to the floral Merry-go-Round at the Wynn resort, colors are brighter than a preschooler’s crayon box: there is no muted, understated elegance here: these interiors demand attention. At Aria a multitude of bicycles hang from the ceiling, painted in vibrant rainbow hues and then there is the giant pyramid full-scale Sphynx at the Luxor resort Hotel and painted ceilings that rival the Sistine chapel at the Venetian.
After a weekend of taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this extraordinary city, the opening day of HD Expo 2017 arrived. We were showing our creation alongside some of the biggest names in the Design industry, and I was thrilled to be there, not just to showcase our Pina Colada Chair but also to view the 900 plus trade booths, each displaying the latest trends and products.