Christmasn in Las Vegas - ラスベガスのクリスマス

Christmas has come and gone quickly. I have been staying in Las Vegas since the 24th. My purpose to come here is always to relax, but my curiosity lead me to Las Vegas blvd. at the night of the 25th, expecting some unique Christmas illuminations.

Well, despite my expectation, there was nothing unusual.

12月の半ばにオープンしたCity Center。今日か明日、中を覗いてくる予定だが、人から聞いた評判は良くない。安っぽいとか、ホテルじゃなくてオフィスみたいだとか。
A new city development on strip, City Center. I am planning to visit inside and take a look either tonight or tomorrow, but the reputations I have heard from the people are not so good so far.
They said it is missing luxurious feeling, and also it looks like office complex.
I will write my opinion after I see the inside.

This block is still far from the completion.

City Centerはプライベートファンドとしては、アメリカ国内で一番大きな物。MGM Mirage と Dubai Worldが出資したが、プロジェクト途中でDubai WorldがMGM Mirageを過大出費で訴えたり、工事の安全性に問題があり、作業員6人の命が奪われ、作業員がボイコットをしたりと問題が多い。全体のデザインが固まる前に突貫工事に入り、インフラストラクチャーのコーディネーションに問題を抱えたり、デザインの相次ぐ変更で、当初4ビリオン・ドル(約3647億円)だった総建設予想費は、最終的に倍にまで膨らんだと読んだ。
It is the largest construction in the United States as a privately funded project, and it sounds incredible; however, there were many issues attached to this development.
MGM Mirage and Dubai World invested together, but Dubai World sued MGM Mirage for breach of contract during the project. Also, the construction safety was not controlled properly, and unfortunately, total of 6 lives have been lost in this project. Because of this issue, construction workers stopped their work during the project. It seemed that the construction was started before all the designs were well coordinated, and this resulted in miss-coordination of infrastructures and change of designs, and the construction cost doubled from 4 billion dollars to 8 billion, I heard.

Gensler (ギャンズラー)がExecutive Architectとして入っていたそうだが、ここは元々インテリアデザインで有名だった会社。ここ数年建築に力を入れているのか、大きな建造物を数多く手がけ出してているが、個人的には彼らのインテリアは好きだが、建築物は大雑把でディテールを欠いた物が多く好きではない。ギャンズラーのデザインで現在LAのダウンタウンに高層ビルのリッツカールトン・ホテルがほぼ完成しているが、その壁面に付けられた模様の色使いの品の無さは見るたびに落胆させられる。その他、HKS, Leo A. Daly, RV Architects, Adamson Associates Archtiects に加え、世界的に有名な Foster and Partners, Murphy Jahn Architects, KPF, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Rockwell Groupなどがデザインで参加している。これだけ多くの著名な建築家を集めてしまうところが、ラスベガスらしい。
Large design firm, Gensler, played a role of executive architect, but this company was known for its superior interior design capabilities, not architectural designs. Recently, they have been designing large buildings, but in my opinion, their architectural designs are missing details and not impressive at all. Ritz Carlton hotel they designed in LA downtown has been almost completed, but it lacks of elegance in colors and patterns on the facade, and it depresses me every time I see it.
In addition to Gensler, HKS, Leo A. Daly, RV Architects and Adamson Associates Architects collaborated with world famous architects:Foster and Partners, Murphy Jahn Architects, KPF, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Studio Daniel Libeskind and Rockwell Group. It is very Las Vegas that so many well known architects were called to join in one project.

Well, enough for architecture today. For me, it is the best to stay away from the strip and relax at home.

Breakfast in a clubhouse.



2009 Christmas Card - 2009 クリスマスカード

It is the time of sending Christmas Card again, so we discussed what we should do this year.

These are the ones we made for the last 2 years.

”去年もらったカード、まだオフィスに飾っていますよ。” とこの前クライアントの方に言って頂いたのが嬉しかった。今年はプロジェクトが忙しく時間が限られているので、
We were pleased when we heard one of our clients say, "We still display your last year's card in our office." Since our projects have been making us pretty busy these days, the time is limited.
So we decided to create

something that we can mass-produce.
something that costs equal to the cost of a typical card.
something that people feel like displaying for a long time.
something that is not just flat, and that is small enough to fit on a palm pleasantly.

And, this is what we made this year.

First, we designed the graphic.

Then, cut out to the shape.

Kazuma poured mixed liquid resin into cookie makers.

Place the cut out graphics gently.

These are prototypes.

So that a receiver can display with a box, we ordered cute boxes and Erika attach our company logo on each one of them.

Place the object on a soft cotton in the display box, and insert it into a white shipping box.

It took us over a week to complete includes the time for prototype and dry out, but we think the achievement is satisfactory. (Even though we couldn't make for everyone we sent our card last year due to our time restriction.)

We believe that we need to be inspired by many things in order to design an architecture and interior spaces; food, nature, car, society, people and so on. Architects and designers design far beyond architecture and interior design. There are architects who design rings, and interior designers who design perfume bottles. I like to have one area of specialty, but making borders with other things simply narrows my sights.

That is the reason why we try variety of things here.



Restaurant Projects - レストラン・プロジェクト

I headed for Hollywood to participate a new restaurant project meeting on last Saturday. In terms of restaurant projects, we are working on 2 others at the same time; one in LA downtown and the other one in San Diego. We believe all of them will be successful in their businesses.

I hear many people come from Japan and open their restaurants here in LA. It is not an easy task to succeed in restaurant business here because of the car culture and dispersed attractive points and their own styles. I think it is reckless to try to adapt the way of thinking, tastes of food and design directly brought from Japan.

Some of my opinions for opening a restaurant are:

In this car society, even if there were a hot trendy spot close by, you can not expect people walking to your store unless a row of endless attractive stores lead them to you.

If moderate price setting, people prefer a place with a visible sign, easy to find while driving and large windows with sunlight to a hidden place.

Parking entrance should be able to be found without a hustle. If not, it is hard to catch new customers driving by.

Rather casual and friendly design than cold and too modern design.

Knowledge for races and people living in the area.

At least 6 months is required to complete design, permit process and construction even for a small restaurant.

Knowledge for ADA requirements. In the case of one each washroom for men and women is required, about 115SF of space is taken (one water closet and one sink. no alcohol serving case). If you are not following all the rules, you are simply increasing the chances to be sued.

Other than the things above, there are so many rules and regulations from city and health department. Also procedure to apply for alcohol license and Conditional Use Permit could be headache sometimes. In addition, the accepted designs depend on an area in the city, so there are numerous things to handle to open an restaurant.

Architects and interior designers, as client representatives, always work with real estate agents and contractors, so we can share our knowledge to our clients. Also, in order to grasp ideas for design and rules, we recommend contact architects and designers first.



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