Archive for January, 2010
My last visit to Las Vegas was in December 2007. Besides CityCenter, there have been two major grand openings on the Strip since then: Palazzo and Encore. Although both are gigantic luxury hotel and casino resorts in their own right, functionally they are expansions of pre-existing properties (Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas, respectively). They don’t carry the same level of intrigue as a brand new resort like CityCenter, but nevertheless I had fun wandering around and checking everything out.
This photoset will wrap up my coverage of the trip. I want to take a quick moment to thank WET Design, the company that developed the Fountains of Bellagio and the CityCenter water features, for publishing my blog on the press section of their website. I’m assuming they liked my photos of their CityCenter projects, and I’m giddy that my post is listed in the company of articles from The New Yorker and Los Angeles Times. Probably the coolest moment for this blog since I started it!
Vdara was the first property to open in the Las Vegas megacomplex of CityCenter. Although Vdara was originally designed to be a condo-hotel with residential suites for sale, the downturn of the economy forced it to be converted into a standard hotel. I stayed 2 nights at Vdara for my Vegas trip last month. Contrary to negative testimonials I’ve read, I had a mostly pleasant experience with Vdara.
Don’t expect your typical extravagant Vegas hotel/casino here. In fact, there is no casino anywhere in the building. Vdara has a professional, business-hotel atmosphere. Its contemporary feel matches well with the entire CityCenter project, but is that really what the typical Vegas visitor wants?
Las Vegas is an easy vacation destination for Los Angeles residents, a brisk 3.5 hour drive away. As a L.A. native, I’ve been to Vegas every 1-2 years ever since I was a kid. Even though I couldn’t gamble, there were always new shows to see and new resort-casinos to visit. The trend in recent years has been a shift from theme casinos (Mirage, New York New York, Venetian, etc.) to modern sophistication and luxury like Wynn. Nowhere is this more evident than the tragedy of Treasure Island, which lost its pirate theme and became rebranded as TI.
CityCenter recently opened in December 2009 as the most ambitious project in Las Vegas yet. The largest privately funded construction project in U.S. history, it represents a paradigm shift in Vegas resort design. Like Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills and other similar urban complexes, CityCenter is meant to be a city within a city where residents can live, dine, shop, work and play without leaving the complex. While CityCenter doesn’t have any office spaces, it features thousands of condominium residences and hotel rooms spread across multiple high-rises along with a large shopping-entertainment district that will house a future grocery store.
Visiting CityCenter was to be my highlight of this trip, and while the scope and design of the facility are impressive, I was unfortunately underwhelmed.
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Shortly after I finished my first artwork modification of the SF4 Tournament Edition arcade stick, I set about working on my second design last September. Because my second stick was located in my Los Angeles home, I did not actually complete the project until last week when I returned home for Christmas break. I am now a proud owner of these two beauties!
The concept for stick #2 was inspired by how Taeyeon’s military hat and M. Bison’s Shadaloo cap looked remarkably identical. Since stick #1 was predominantly white, I wanted stick #2 to be black for contrast. #1 is still my favorite design as that shows more aesthetic sense, whereas #2 is just two people plastered on either side of the controller. I contemplated #2 for awhile because I was not satisfied with the design. However, the continuation of the Taeyeon theme and the link between the hats were irresistible.