Global Gaming: 'Spreading the Sports'

Spreading the Sports: Maximizing profit with modern sportsbook design

Read the full article here at Global Gaming Business.

 

HBG Design is one of the leading casino architecture firms in the country, with a portfolio of projects that spans from New York to Arizona. Practice Leader Nathan Peak understands the importance of getting the atmosphere right, because “betting is often more fun and more appealing to a much broader customer base if it’s a social and communal experience,” he says.

“Most often, we find that clients are looking for a way to incorporate the sportsbook into an already-active area of the casino, sometimes to create synergy with an existing adjacent amenity,” says Peak.

“This helps build energy into the sports gaming experience and infuse activity into nearby amenities. Rather than locate a vital revenue-generating amenity like the sportsbook in the smoky shadows of the property, we want to make it highly visible. Several of our recent sportsbook concepts integrate sports betting into the center bar or into existing restaurants or into multi-use venues… Think, camaraderie with your friends, big TV screens, multiple games on at once, comfortable chairs, tables and bar seating with great food and bar service.”

Regardless of where the sportsbook is located, collaboration is crucial, especially in the initial stages of planning and design. For Peak and HBG, the two biggest challenges when starting a new project are understanding the “client’s needs from an operational standpoint” as well as “what their customers desire.” National firms may not be in touch with some of the smaller markets, but “clients understand their customers and markets better than anyone else,” so it’s often best to start at the source to sculpt a blank canvas into a functional, money-making space.

“There is always some type of sporting or competitive event happening, which provides continuous opportunities to promote and hold special event nights in the sportsbook, particularly on off nights,” says Peak. And, if worst really does come to worst, operators can always put on sports TV outlets such as ESPN and Fox Sports, in the hopes of convincing stray hotel guests or passersby to stop and watch highlights or talk shows by the bar.

 


Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG

Global Gaming Business Magazine has 5 Questions for HBG Design's Nathan Peak:
Read the profile article here at Global Gaming Business.

 

HBG Design is a recognized leader in the design and construction of new casinos and renovations across the spectrum. Nathan Peak was recently named the practice leader for the firm, and he explains why the company has been successful in the gaming industry, particularly tribal gaming. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from his office in Memphis in July.

GGB: HBG has established a great reputation in the gaming industry over the years. What’s it going take to maintain that leadership in your new role?

Nathan Peak: I think we have a different way of thinking. In the new role, I want to have a greater focus on integrated design. And what I mean by that is we really like to work with our clients and our operators to understand what they do best and really make design an extension of the gaming experience. For example, I love to get to know our operators. I love to get to know how the slots work and how they put their games together. I like to work with the food and beverage director, understand what their menus are and how our experience can really enhance the experience of the entire property. So I think of that as an extension to architecture and not just building pretty buildings, but really designing experience around what we do that enhances our clients’ properties.

You’ve developed some really great properties, one of them being the Oaklawn Racetrack Casino in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s got such a colorful history, and you made the hotel and casino blend into the track. You treated the history with respect and the final design recognizes that.

The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is a great project. We’re very proud of it. Having the hotel right there at that first turn and having rooms look right down the horse track is a pretty amazing experience. There are lots of great themes throughout that space. We used a lot of the different stripes, and decorations that they put on the horses and used that pattern throughout the casino and the guest rooms—I think it’s really well done.

Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG

A recent job you’ve gotten is the Gun Lake project in Michigan, run by Sal Semola. Tell us about that project.

Sal is a great person to work with and we do it very collaboratively. And they did something very bold. They approached us with a program that I think is very unique. It’s something more of a hybrid where we have a typical hotel that’s going to be a four-diamond hotel that attaches to their existing gaming floor. But the unique thing about that project is what they’re calling the Aquadome, an enclosed atrium space that houses several pools that can also turn into a nightclub or a concert venue in the evening. So it has dual purposes, but having that right in the middle of a cold Michigan winter. It’s going to be something great for their customers every year, year-round.

Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG  Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG

Let’s talk about the design and construction industry post-pandemic. My contacts in the architectural and construction field told me things were going great getting back to normal—actually even better than normal. But with the supply chain issues and rising interest rates, what’s the reality right now?

The reality is that it’s always been challenging post-pandemic. But a really great thing for the industry of design and construction is that it’s really brought design and construction closer together. Design and construction used to be two different silos where we would design something and then have a contractor help us out. But now it’s really about working from the end forward. I’m on daily calls with contractors and subcontractors to find how to make things work. We have to commit to promises for our clients, and working with contractors and design-assist contractors helps us find ways to make things happen.

Following the pandemic, most took slot machines out for social distancing. Today, there are many more carousels rather than long lines of slot machines. How do you work with your clients when you consider a renovation of the casino floor?

To my point I made earlier, I really like to work with all departments, and I get a lot of information back when I talk with the slot directors. To me, they want to energize the gaming floor. We’ve worked with a lot of operators, and a lot of them have reduced their quantities of machines. For example, we work with the Four Winds group in Michigan, the Pokagon Band, and they’ve actually done a pretty significant reduction, but they’ve also seen higher play, a higher win or a higher coin-in for most of the machines just by reducing it. So I think it’s a balance that each property needs to find on its own.

Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG  Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG

Global Gaming Business: 5 Questions for HBG


Rain Rock Casino breaks ground on new addition

Read the full article and watch the groundbreaking event video here at KDRV.com.

KDRV NewsWatch 12 covered the Ground Breaking Ceremony.

 Updated 

Yreka, CA - Today the Rain Rock Casino in Yreka broke ground to begin its transformation from a pit stop casino to a travel destination. The future of the casino will provide more stability to Siskiyou County and the Karuk Tribe.

Rain Rock breaks ground


HBG Designs the First Rock & Brews Casino and Restaurant in Oklahoma

HBG Design’s ‘Agrarian-Industrial’ Architectural Aesthetic for the Premier Rock & Brews Casino gets a ‘KISS’ of Approval

The first ever Rock & Brews Casino and Restaurant opened for business in Braman, OK, EXIT 231 on I-35, in North Central Oklahoma, on May 10, 2022. The project features an expertly curated interactive rock-inspired entertainment experience that only Rock & Brews--and its co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of iconic rock band, KISS--can provide; and a distinctive ‘agrarian-industrial’ architectural and interior design by national Top 5 casino design firm, HBG Design.

Owned by the gaming entity of Oklahoma’s Kaw Nation and developed in partnership with Rock & Brews, the project is a 67,000 square foot expansion and 4,000 square foot renovation to the Kaw Nation’s existing casino operation. The new branded casino and restaurant thoroughly delivers on Rock & Brews’ promise for a high-octane experience.

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

The brilliant entertainment is wrapped in distinctive contemporary architecture by HBG Design. The exterior design visually ties into the highly structural barn buildings found in the surrounding rural Oklahoma locale.

Rock and Brews Casino Entrance Canopy

 

Rock and Brews Casino event lawn“The 71,000 SF exterior geometry is animated by gable pitched rooflines, and ribbed metal, wood and glass materiality,” says Ryan Callahan, AIA, Architectural Designer at HBG Design, “and features a six-panel sliding glass door that opens to provide indoor/outdoor Rock and Brews restaurant dining and access to a grand event lawn.”

A COHESIVE INTERIOR PALETTE SERVES AS CANVAS FOR BOLD ROCK & ROLL ELEMENTS

The Rock & Brews brand and venues are noted for their heavy integration of rock and roll imagery and iconography. HBG Design’s overall interior design palette became an ideal canvas for these bold elements. The design palette helps achieve visual cohesion from the existing casino to the new casino expansion area. “Reds, grays and purples give an edginess to the vibrant walls and patterned carpeting,” adds Callahan. “A mix of color, pattern and texture complement the design intent.”

Determination of the appropriate music-related graphics and design implementation within the gaming areas was a team collaboration between Rock & Brews, Kaw Nation and HBG Design.

Across the casino and restaurant, murals of rock bands and performers--including a large KISS mural--adorn the walls and ceilings, lending a casual rocker lair vibe. Guitar fret patterns are etched into columns. Vinyl records with names of recording artists add dimension and variation to the floor patterns at the Grab and Go. A cymbal-look ceiling element hangs overhead.

Ceiling elements help with wayfinding between the first ever Rock & Brews Casino gaming floor and Oklahoma’s first ever Rock & Brews restaurant. A large guitar pick inscribed with The Beatles’ logo and band member signatures looms above the brick rotunda entryway to the Rock & Brews bar and restaurant. The host stand is created from identifiable “roadie boxes”. A backdrop art piece is crafted from industrial metal chains to add true rock and roll ambiance.

Rock and Brews Casino Restaurant Vaulted Ceiling

To maintain the authentic brand experience that Rock & Brews restaurant and bar is known for, the design team consulted the company’s brand manager for in-depth guidance on the specific, and proven, layout, finishes and materials required in the entry, bar and dining room designs.

Inside the large, vaulted Rock & Brews brewhouse, practically every inch of ceiling space is covered with theatrical banners and backlit framed graphics showcasing signature rock and roll graphics. The graphics are framed by a dramatic performance stage lighting truss hanging from the pitched ceiling, painted the signature Rock & Brews branded red. Colorful murals enliven brick walls. Plank wood-effect tile helps subdue and contemporize the floor plane around the dining and bar areas.

The new Rock & Brews Casino rock and roll vibe fully immerses guests in a concert style environment and high-quality audio and visual experiences, all designed to celebrate the defining moments of rock n’ roll.

PROJECT ORIGINATION

The Kaw Nation and Kaw Gaming, Inc., owner / operator of Southwind Casinos throughout Oklahoma, partnered with Rock & Brews to develop this premier branded casino and restaurant. Rock & Brews co-founders, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, along with their other brand partners, restaurateur Michael Zislis and concert industry veterans Dave and Dell Furano, have opened Rock & Brews restaurants across California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri and Texas, and now Oklahoma.

A well-recognized name across the entertainment industry, Rock & Brews will broaden market appeal and introduce new customers to Kaw Gaming. The two make a great fit since the Rock & Brews model is an active member of the community where they’re located – both philanthropically and through the restaurant’s offerings by introducing locally-sourced ingredients in their F & B menu and highlighting area brewers. The combination of national brand presence with a “localvore” twist creates a strong draw that will differentiate Kaw Nation’s new Rock & Brews Casino property in this market.


Creating Depth, Meaning and Authenticity in the Gaming Experience

"Casino design is its own special artform that has long since evolved from being simply a structural box with slot machines inside. At the best casinos and resorts, the casino designs are exciting and lively, but are also inspired by meaning and authenticity, with a beautiful flow from one amenity to the next.” - Christopher Wood, NCIDQ, IIDA, HBG Design

Chris Wood IIDA

Christopher Wood, NCIDQ, IIDA, Lead Interior Designer and a casino design specialist contributes to this month's 'HBG Design Thinking'. Chris discusses how inspired, authentic and meaningful design can help differentiate and enhance the guest's gaming experience.

First, Chris, why are you passionate about casino and entertainment design?

Chris: As a casino design specialist here at HBG Design, I love creating spaces of refined elegance with a bit of glitz and glam. I love finding subtle ways to elevate a space. And it helps that I have a penchant for all things that sparkle. That tends to work well in casino design. The casino is the nucleus of the guest experience for a casino resort. Bringing in intricate detailing and refinement through materials that truly shine is something that always gets my creative juices going.

As a casino designer, where do you and your team find your design inspiration?

Chris: At HBG, we are fortunate to work with many distinctive tribal and commercial gaming clients with strong cultures, brands and regional ties, in some cases, to native ancestral lands. I love learning about our clients’ cultures. Being able to highlight stories of heritage respectfully, creatively, and typically within a more contemporary casino design framework, is challenging yet exciting.

Ho-Chunk Gaming BRF Casino  Ho-Chunk Gaming BRF

Shown above: the design of Ho-Chunk Gaming, Black River Falls, Wisconsin was directly influenced by the light and shadow filtering through the northern Wisconsin woods.

Nature is also a tremendous aspect of regional design inspiration. There is so much beauty in the world. Finding new ways to bring the outside world into our designed spaces is an unexpected surprise, especially in a casino. I like to reference underlying elements that we don't often think would be associated with a casino. For example, a sunrise, light and shadow, the night sky.

Each story can form the basis of a string of conceptual ideas that are personal and unique to each Owner. One-of-a-kind design really complements and elevates a gaming experience. We use ambience and emotional response to separate a property from the [casino] pack.  

Can you give an example of a design inspired by culture or nature for regional customers?

Chris: Yes, the Tule River Tribe in California is currently developing their new 105,000 square foot Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville, CA, which will enhance the tribe’s gaming and F&B amenities with a fresh interpretation of Tule River Tribal culture and heritage. Our design team merged cultural storytelling concepts with amenities and distinctive venues designed specifically for the Porterville gaming customer.

Eagle Mountain CasinoKey design concepts are rooted in the land and agrarian context of Tulare County and Central California with the design influenced heavily by a lodge aesthetic with wood and stone structural expressions. Inside, guests will experience an abstract depiction of the Tule River Tribe’s native traditions through art, patterns, and imagery. Soaring vertical features recall the majesty of the Giant Sequoia and the Golden Eagle, each important representations of tribal culture. Flowing forms will recall the winding Tule River and organic curves of nature.

Custom terrazzo medallions of tribal basketry patterns will enhance the entrance concourse. Display cases will feature tribal artwork. The casino ceiling design features the Tule River Tribe's Flight of the Butterfly and Quail Tufts cultural pattern. Chandelier designs are inspired by native basketry. The carpeting is evocative of a shadowed forest floor. Wood accented columns help bring alive the idea of the towering sequoia.

Is there a particular aspect of the Eagle Mountain Casino project that you think will stand out to guests?

Eagle Mountain CasinoChris: The Eagle Mountain Casino’s ceiling design and center bar is a design that I am particularly proud of for its eye-catching aesthetic. Guests will witness a culturally significant center bar design that harkens to the concept of fire as a community gathering place. We designed in elements reminiscent of glowing embers of a dwindling fire, and sourced custom floating ember-look light fixtures. A focal back bar element recalls stacked firewood. Warm crimsons and deep navy blues help express the color range that fire can have, leaving those gathered feeling warm and social.

Are most Owners receptive to integrating cultural elements into the casino design?

Chris: Our team’s experiences working with Tribal design, especially, have been very diverse. We have created literal interpretations and incorporations of cultural identity into the entertainment experience. And have also designed more contemporary, abstracted nods to culture and heritage.

We design to each Owner’s specific vision; so no designs look alike. And, because many of the tribal casinos are often legacy investments supporting tribal communities, the casino design treatments can be incredible opportunities to create personality, emotion and memory within the context of a meaningful destination experience.


Atlantis Paradise Island Announces Casino Renovations

HBG Design is beyond thrilled to be a part of the exciting casino renovations at Atlantis Paradise Island!

Atlantis Paradise Island is going bigger and bolder in 2022 by announcing multimillion-dollar renovations and exciting new partnerships at the iconic resort located on five miles of white sand beaches in The Bahamas, including casino renovations being designed by Top 10 hospitality and entertainment designers, HBG Design. 

As featured in LuxuryTravelMagazine.com - Read more here about the new project enhancement happening at Atlantis Paradise Island.

For nearly 25 years, Atlantis, best known for exuding Bahamian culture, serving as a marvel and custodian of marine life, and its landmark pink architecture – specifically the highly recognizable Royal Towers and Bridge Suite - has paved the way for luxury, hospitality and entertainment in the Caribbean and around the world. Now the resort is raising the bar even higher by embarking upon a new chapter with an array of massive upgrades and striking enhancements that include the redevelopment of The Beach Tower and all Royal Tower guestrooms and suites, a reimagined Atlantis Casino, and the addition of another Michelin-starred chef to its already impressive dining roster.

A WORLD-CLASS WONDERLAND

Fostering fun and leisure with experiential moments, including gaming renovations at Atlantis Paradise Island being designed by HBG Design.

The Atlantis Casino will undergo a refresh that will include modern finishes, shimmering textures, celestial fixtures, and flowing lines echoing the refractions of the sea. Upon entering the Atlantis Casino, guests will be welcomed with a grander and even more elegant sense of space. Other updates will include the expansion of the Atlantis Casino’s two on-site lounges, an exciting high-limit slots lounge, and an expansion of the exclusive gaming salon.

"We could not be more excited for all of the developments coming to Atlantis this year," said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director of Atlantis Paradise Island. "With these incredible additions, we are continuing Atlantis' legacy of offering guests endless, immersive experiences during their stay."

Read the full press release here.


Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion:
Addition to feature 15-story hotel with 32,000 square foot Aquadome

(Wayland, Mich.) – Gun Lake Casino has officially broken ground on the upcoming $300-million addition to the west side of the property. The expansion will transform the casino into a hotel resort with countless amenities.

“Phase 5 will transform the property into becoming a first-class destination resort. Without question, its design attributes will create a unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO, Sal Semola.

“Over the past eleven years, the Gun Lake Tribe and our Gun Lake Casino Team Members have worked tirelessly to make this all a possibility. This is just the next step towards making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion

Gun Lake Casino Aquadome and Hotel

The resort will feature multiple pools inside a six-story Aquadome with 32,000 square feet of space that can transform into a concert venue, banquet center and entertainment venue. The hotel will consist of 15 floors with 252 rooms including 30 suites, and a two-level suite.  350 jobs are expected to be created as part of the addition to the property.

“Job creation is one of the many things we’re excited about with this expansion,” Semola added. “We take great pride in providing career opportunities with outstanding benefits for people in our community. These jobs will include guest relations, housekeeping, entertainment, and several other departments.”

Sandhill Café will make its return inside the new expansion, featuring a three-meal venue designed around 137 seats which features a flexible layout for individual and group settings. Gun Lake and the surrounding area will have a large influence on the color palette inside of each Guestroom and Suite.

“We are thrilled to begin taking the next steps in expanding not only Gun Lake Casino’s offerings but also our career opportunities to those in the surrounding communities,” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters. “We are committed to continuously investing in the future of the Tribe, the community, and our current and future Team Members.”

World-renowned HBG Design has taken the reins on the layout of Phase 5. HBG has been creating memorable and transformative Guest experiences for over 42 years in over 40 Sovereign Nations across the United States.

“HBG Design is excited to be leading the architecture and interior design for the $300-million expansion of Gun Lake Casino featuring a 252 room 4-diamond hotel, spa, and multi-purpose Aquadome,” said Paul Bell, AIA, Principal of HBG Design. “The Aquadome is sure to become a must-see feature."

"A resort pool by day and performance complex by night, the glass-enclosed circular structure will generate an immense sense of energy inside and out, while offering a variety of complementary entertainment and gathering opportunities for resort guests and entertainment-seekers from the tri-state area. Our team is dedicated to helping the Gun Lake Tribe fulfill its vision for the future of its popular entertainment facility. We have enjoyed working diligently together with the Tribe and Casino Operations to envision a unique expansion design that sets them on that path to success.”

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion with Aquadome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aquadome’s dynamic form is sculpted by the sun’s daily path across the site and will reflect the dynamic sky from all four of Michigan’s vivid seasons.

The top two floors of the hotel will feature a two-story suite with a unique living space showcasing a grand staircase, double-height window, and residential elevator. Guests can also enjoy a full-service bar, billiards table, and a larger bar upstairs with both indoor and outdoor dining and lounge areas.

Construction on the west side of Gun Lake Casino will begin in late May with an expected completion of March 2025.

About Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino, a premier gaming and entertainment destination, is located off Exit 61 on U.S. 131, halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. The casino features a variety of thrilling gaming options, including 2,500 state-of-the-art slot machines, 47 table games, a modern sportsbook, and keno. Gun Lake Casino is comprised of high-quality dining amenities, including Shkodé Chophouse with a contemporary take on American cuisine, CBK inspired by the brewery culture in Michigan, 131 Sportsbar & Lounge with over 1,000 square feet of viewing surface for panoramic views of live events, and Harvest Buffet featuring fresh ingredients, cooked to order.

Gun Lake Casino is owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi. For more information, visit www.gunlakecasino.com.

Phase 5 Hotel & Resort Facts Sheet

  • Layout/Structure
    • 15 Floors
    • 252 Rooms
    • 30 Suites
    • Two-Story Suite on top floors
  • Aquadome
    • 32,000 Square Feet
    • Three pools (Family, 21+ & VIP)
    • Swim-up bar
    • Live palm trees and tropical flora
    • 82-degrees year-round
    • Live entertainment stage capable of hosting large events with a 2,400-person capacity
  • Economic Impact
    • Cost: $350 Million
    • Estimated $650 Million in economic impact
    • 350 jobs created
  • Other Amenities
    • Sandhill Café featuring a three-meal restaurant and 137 seats
    • New Gift Shop
    • Lobby Bar overlooking the Aquadome
    • Full-service Spa
    • Relaxing pool and hot tub
    • Business center and meeting space
  • Other Notes
    • Scheduled Opening: March 2025
    • Color palettes, designs of hotel and resort inspired by Gun Lake and surrounding landscape in the area

Read the news articles:

$300M hotel, massive ‘Aquadome’ aim to make Gun Lake Casino ‘first-class destination resort’, at mlive.com

Michigan's Gun Lake Casino breaks ground on new hotel and 'Aquadome', set to open in Q1 2025, at Yogonet.com Gaming News

Gun Lake Casino breaks ground on new Hotel and 'Aquadome', by wwmt.com


GGB Casino Style: Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is in the Winner's Circle

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/6

Read the full article above and at GGB Casino Style magazine.

 

The racetrack name may be as revered as the resort city it occupies: Oaklawn Racing in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1904, Oaklawn opened as a 1,500-seat grandstand, hosting high-stakes thoroughbred races. In the past 100-plus years, it has become the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state, and is now known as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

In 2009, HBG Design was instrumental in the addition of a casino to the jockey club, and then oversaw a casino expansion and renovation in 2015. Most recently, Oaklawn turned to HBG to lead the architecture and interior design for the newest large-scale racing and gaming resort expansion.

It includes an eight-story, 198-room hotel with thrilling views of the horse track, a 15,000-square-foot event center, an expanded gaming floor and new high-limit area, a world-class spa and pool, and multiple upscale food and beverage venues including a food court, the First Turn Bar and the Bugler restaurant.

The Cella family, owners and operators of Oaklawn for generations, looked for a design that emphasized the resort’s roots in racing. HBG’s “tailored equestrian” concept more than fulfills that vision. The expansion took many design cues from Hot Springs’ heyday as America’s First Spa Resort, renowned for its thermal springs and iconic Victorian bathhouses.

Designers followed the strong horizontal silhouettes of the original grandstand to inform much of the aesthetic, introducing linear, interlocking volumes and building shapes to tie the elements together aesthetically. A new video wall builds anticipation as guests arrive.

Visual notes in the building’s architecture bring to mind thoroughbreds galloping to the finish line, adding a sense of movement to the iconic hotel mass.

Color and texture add visual interest, with metal panels in shades of red, orange, tan and blue-gray contrasting with a lighter-hued stone base and columns to continue the contemporary aesthetic. Corrugated materials on the exterior recall the grooves left on the racetrack turf after it is smoothed by chain harrows.

Bold architectural gestures highlight the two-story lobby and soaring prefunction space. The grand staircase and escalators are striking features of the tall entry lobby, and lead patrons to the new food court, main gaming floor and hotel guest rooms.

The lobby combines a refined modern aesthetic with historical undercurrents, using a restrained gray-blue, navy and tan color palette, natural woodplank ceiling, traditional patterned tile, marble finishes, and a breathtaking circular gold metallic chandelier.

The theme continues underfoot, in the carpet pattern, with overlapping planes that bring to mind galloping horses. They work together with lighting and pattern to create a sense of movement around the floor. The subtle equestrian theme continues in the sophisticated guest rooms and suites, for an aligned guest experience from end to end.

The use of glass fosters indoor/outdoor connection. To reinforce racing as the main attraction, the new hotel and amenity structures wrap around the track.

All design references in the expansion subtly hint at the rich horse racing heritage at Oaklawn, using abstract design themes as the catalyst for discovery. As Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith noted at the opening of the newly expanded space, “You’ll find throughout the whole facility that racing is in some way, shape or form involved in the design. What we want people to recognize is we are a racetrack first, and then we are a hotel and casino next.”

Smith said Oaklawn offers guests a “new level of luxury“ in the historic resort city.

OWNERS: The Cella Family
ARCHITECTURAL & INTERIOR DESIGN: HBG Design
TOTAL INVESTMENT: $100 million-plus
OPENED: April 2021


GGB Casino Style: Diamonds Are Forever at Desert Diamond West Valley Casino

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/10

Read the full article above or here.

The new Diamond VIP Lounge at Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale, Arizona was meant to dazzle—literally.

Diamonds are meaningful symbols in the culture of the Tohono O’odham Nation, which owns and operates the gaming property. Inspired by the brilliance of the stones, the team at HBG Design introduced ambient lighting to illuminate the new lounge and new high-limit room.

Heightened by diamond-like patterns, the light refracts on gleaming upscale finishes throughout the space, including marble and decorative glass tiles, vibrant pendant lighting, fractal-patterned screening and carpeting, and jewel-toned fabrics.

Together, the elements create a truly luminous environment, grounded by a sophisticated desert-toned palette that calls to mind the sculptural features of the earth. The high-limit area, adjacent to the lounge, continues the jewel-inspired design scheme.

The aesthetic of the property derives from a concept called “The Dynamic Earth,” inspired by the vibrance and energy of the desert landscape. It is echoed in unique design interpretations in multiple food-and-beverage venues, the casino floor, and VIP and public spaces, and will inform future phases of the resort’s development, which tentatively include a hotel, spa and convention center.

The VIP lounge is the culmination of a multimillion-dollar resort plan that was first announced by the Tohono O’odham in 2009. After multiple legal challenges, the resort’s first phase was completed in 2015, with the larger project launched in December 2017. According to local media, construction workers spent more than 1 million hours building the $400 million facility.

Dr. Ned Norris, Jr., chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, said the projects are “creating a brighter future for the Tohono O’odham, the West Valley and Arizona… We will continue working with our partners to create even greater opportunity for us all.”

With the design aesthetic developed by HBG Design team, the elegant space will continue to attract visitors to Desert Diamond West Valley—and to dazzle them all.

OWNER: The Tohono O’odham Nation
DESIGNER: HBG Design


GGB Casino Style Highlights Changes in Post-Pandemic Design

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/16

As Covid-19 reaches the rearview mirror of gaming operators, its future impact fits two distinct areas. Some properties have resumed pre-pandemic operations with a few tweaks. Others consider the post-pandemic world a permanent change for casino design. Casinos will incorporate safety-first measures and try striking a balance between safety, comfort, player cultivation and bottom-line innovations.

As casinos emerge from the pandemic, and resume investing in their operations, the design industry’s biggest players guide them forward, armed with the knowledge of which camp each property fits in.

GGB Casino Style Highlights Changes in Post-Pandemic Design

Making Lemons from Lemonade

Covid produced new realities, which breeds new opportunities in the eyes of HBG Design, a powerful group that has helped its clients get out in front of the pandemic.

“If there is such a thing as good news about ‘design after Covid,’ it’s the emphasis on flexibility and reinvention. Those two words have been a steady part of the gaming vernacular practically since its inception,” says Dike Bacon, principal at HBG Design.

“You have to keep your property fresh and in-step with trends in consumer behaviors, and while it may sound strange to think of ‘design after Covid’ as an opportunity, it represents one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviors we’ve seen, possibly ever.”

HBG Design works with operators to re-think and re-invent communal spaces in their properties—from F&B to guest rooms, entertainment venues and, of course, the casino floor, he indicates. “These spaces will continue to play a vital role in connecting people; the design simply has to adapt and flex to support all of humanity’s newly redefined needs,” Bacon asserts.

Gaming-floor space provides another creative outlet. Although new ramifications have hit this area, the reason people gamble has not, according to Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED Green Associate, who also is a principal and design director at HBG. “The pandemic may have redefined the way we think about spaces—especially communal spaces,” Peak says, “but the reason why guests come together to share experiences hasn’t changed.

“The essence of these interactive entertainment spaces hasn’t been lost. Casino resort amenities and especially the casino floor thrive on big spaces teeming with lots of energy and people, and they always will.”

Applying thoughtful, flexible design sensibilities to communal gaming spaces and amenities is more critical than ever before, as these spaces must now be able to easily transform and handle fluid situations, he indicates.

“The key,” says Peak, “is reimagining what flexibility looks like. Before Covid, flexibility may have meant stackable furniture or retractable event space seating, but the word flexibility has been redefined because of the pandemic. Today, we look at flexibility as shaping spaces that are malleable and can adjust to a host of layout options suitable for individual privacy, groups, and social interaction.

“Ultimately, it’s about designing flexible spaces that cater to flexible needs. The ideas of physical space and user experience are more connected than ever before, as people may still feel wary of sitting close to others, yet don’t want to be in isolation.”

High Limits area at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort/HBG Design

The idea of adaptable and flexible public spaces can be seen throughout HBG Design’s recently completed Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in historic Hot Springs, Arkansas. Across the property one sees influence of “design after Covid,” Peak asserts, noting its soaring hotel lobby space designed with a number of different interaction zones that easily shift from quiet personal spaces to socialization hubs for groups to gather before heading to the casino floor.

Flexible FF&E accompanies thoughtfully considered layouts that can be easily changed and reconfigured depending on the needs of operators and their guests.

“In the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort lobby, we’ve used bold architectural gestures like the grand staircase and escalators which create dramatic structural elements and strong visual presence that directs casino guests to the main gaming floor, new food court and the hotel guest rooms on the second level,” Peak indicates. “Every space needs a moment that pulls you in, and these central elements draw you in, create interest and also provide a sense of openness in the space that puts guests in the right frame of mind—that they’ve entered not only a beautiful, glamorous entertainment space, but a safe space to enjoy.”

The pandemic has also seriously affected regional material sourcing, which plays a vital role in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Bacon says a new sensibility about sourcing materials from regional makers and manufacturers has come out of the pandemic. “As designers seek to achieve an aesthetic that is of the area and create experiential moments, local and regional materials play a vital role in expressing that authenticity.

“Where the pandemic comes into play is in the material shortages, higher costs, and longer lead times the entire AEC industry is experiencing today,” he adds. “Covid created significant manufacturing shutdowns, especially overseas, leading to material shortages and often complete lack of availability, higher tariffs from international manufacturers shipping domestically and transportation concerns. As an alternative, carefully sourced regional options can not only circumvent such transportation and tariff issues, but they can also promote greater connection to place in meaningful ways.”

Lobby area at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort/HBG Design

The effects of Covid extend to another area, the disrupted supply chains.

“Supply chain issues will probably go on for another year or so,” says Emily Marshall, IIDA, NCIDQ, principal and director of HBG Design’s Interior Design Group. “Many of our clients in the branded hospitality space, as well as in gaming, have told us they are looking at 30–32-week lead items for most of their FF&E and lighting. That makes a big impact on accommodating anticipated construction and installation schedules.”

One way HBG Design is working around the supply chain situation is by using more regional manufacturers who employ skilled tradesmen who build case goods and millwork in a shop, versus working onsite. This not only keeps the level of quality high, but also increases efficiency.

“We’re very supportive of this type of FF&E delivery because the craftsmanship is excellent and there is so much less waste as a result,” adds Marshall. “Like Dike said, if there can be any sort of ‘good’ outcome of the pandemic, it’s that our eyes have been opened to looking at everything from design to delivery through a different lens, while reimagining the way spaces are used, designed, and furnished. And that, in the long run, will be better for everyone.”

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