I spent almost a week in Las Vegas representing APLD at a board meeting as well as at an industry trade show. I had never been there before and it is the first place I’ve ever been where I would be happy not to go back to. There is no romance there unless you like, as one of my fellow designers dubbed it, ‘trailer park glamour’.
For the garden minded, there are pockets of innovation and interest, particularly in the Wynn Hotel.
Despite the artificial perfumed air, the bad fashion and the incredible, unsustainable environment which couldn’t exist without pumped in water, electricity and a boat (caravan?) load of other things that are not in anyway part of the natural environment in the Mojave desert, I did find two places intriguing.
The first, The Neon Museum, is uniquely Las Vegas. The museum tells the history of the city’s upswing through its neon signs. These ghost signs have been collected, preserved (thanks to little or no rust), cataloged and organized. They are beautiful and also tell the history of 20th century design from quaint to futuristic.
For the second, after two days inside, I went with five other designers to Red Rock Canyon, which is less than an hour away from the Vegas strip by car. My eastern eyes, used to green forested landscapes with glimpses of the sky, loved the unfiltered light – we were there at sunset, the scale of the sky, the neutral colors, and the rocks themselves.
When I returned home, I woke with a start to the bright red fall foliage outside my bedroom window. Almost a week in the desert had made me unused to natural color…Las Vegas was either neutral or neon.