GGB Casino Style Magazine: Designing Emotional Connection

Read how HBG is designing emotional connection into three of our new casino resort projects.

“An entertainment experience is all about emotion—basically about having fun and enjoying yourself in an extraordinary environment,” says Dike Bacon, principal at HBG Design. “For many casino patrons, the resort is their country club. It’s their escape. It’s what they do to have fun.

“I use the analogy of a golfer. Even in tough economic times, golfers will find the money to play golf because that’s what they like to do. Even in tough times, gamblers will find the money to gamble because that’s what they like to do.

Gaming operators jockey to find an edge. They mirror the Field of Dreams concept from the famous movie: if you build it, they will come.

“Owners and operators are expanding with larger, more targeted and exceptional property developments and improvements,” Bacon indicates. “From small-scale renovations and incremental expansions to huge multi-faceted super-regional resort-level entertainment additions. There are also exciting expansions to existing jurisdictions like Illinois and New York and huge investments in new jurisdictions like Virginia.”

Bacon hails the industry’s resilience. It faces headwinds regarding economics, the pandemic and oversaturation, but finds a way to emerge stronger.

“The industry seems to always be battling Chicken Little headwinds in some form or fashion, but always seems to just push through better than ever,” Bacon says.

“Owners are currently molding and reshaping their expansions and renovations to accommodate changing economic conditions, but many regional gaming properties continue to ride a wave of success. In many markets, expanded facilities are creating entertainment experiences that often rival or eclipse what’s offered in Las Vegas. At HBG Design, we are working with great clients; we are busy; and we are doing great things.

READ MORE IN GLOBAL GAMING BUSINESS' 2022 CASINO STYLE MAGAZINE

Designing Emotional Connection

Gun Lake Casino Resort, Wayland, Michigan

One of HBG Design's largest projects is the $300 million Gun Lake Casino expansion for the Gun Lake Tribe in Wayland, Michigan. The project is located just south of Grand Rapids, which is only a few hours’ drive from Chicago and Detroit. Gun Lake owners have set their sights on creating the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest, Bacon says. It’s a true super-regional resort with an expansion program designed to drive traffic from those two major metropolitan areas. The new project will consist of a 252-room hotel tower, multiple support amenities, and a new climate-controlled atrium called the Aquadome.

Rock & Brews Casino, Braman, Oklahoma

The first-ever HBG-designed Rock & Brews Casino and Restaurant owned by Kaw Gaming opened for business in Braman, Oklahoma this year. Co-branding with recognizable names from outside the casino industry to anchor key amenities is not a new concept, but is gaining more traction with tribally owned casinos as a means to broaden market appeal and greater name recognition from an expanding customer base, Bacon says. The 71,000-square-foot gaming 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. The Rock & Brews brand and venues are noted for using heavy integration of rock ‘n’ roll imagery and iconography to elicit emotion and nostalgia in customers.


GGB Casino Style Magazine Features Rock & Brews Casino

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Located in North Central Oklahoma, HBG’s ‘Agrarian-Industrial’ Architectural Aesthetic for the Premier Rock & Brews Casino and Restaurant 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.

The 71,000 SF exterior geometry is animated by gable pitched rooflines, and ribbed metal, wood and glass materiality. 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. 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” with a backdrop art piece crafted from industrial metal chains to add true rock and roll ambiance.

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.

The Kaw Nation and Kaw Gaming, Inc., owner/operator of Southwind Casinos throughout Oklahoma, partnered with Rock & Brews to develop this premier Rock & Brews 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.