IAG 2006-08-09 Aug-Sep - page 14-15

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eople have funny ideas about what
the mainland Chinese want,” suggests Paul
SteelmanDesignGroup (PSDG) AsiaManag-
ingArchitect JamesWong as an explanation
of the pastiche and cheap glass-reinforced
plastic (GRP) that littersmanyof thenew ca-
sino properties going up inMacau. He con-
tinues:“Theymaybe lookinga littlebitdown
on people from themainland. They think as
long as you come from China, you have a
low intelligence,you come for a short trip, so
someof thisquick stuffwill satisfyyou.”
PSDG – which set up its Macau branch
office, PSDG Asia, in 2003 – designed the
hugely successful Sands Macau, which in
May 2004 became the first foreign-oper-
TheLookofCasinos toCome
The design of casinos is changing to reflect the growing importance of non-gaming revenues.
Paul SteelmanDesignGroup (PSDG) AsiaManagingArchitect JamesWong shares some rules
of casinodesign, and offers previews of some of his firm’s upcomingprojects
atedcasino toopen in thecity.SandsMacau
avoided cheesy themes and instead sought
to provide people a gambling venue with
conspicuous“quality of space andmaterial,”
according toMr.Wong.“Why one single ca-
sinohas been able to capture about 20%of
themarket is not because we are trying to
put upcheap things,”heasserts.
Inside Asian Gaming
has seen many el-
ements of Sands Macau being imitated
around Asia, from the carpets at the Subic
Diamond in thePhilippines to thegenerous
spaceatGalaxy’sGrandWaldo inMacau.
Street Lighting
As for the surfeit of neon creating an eerie
daylight outside several new casinos inMa-
cau,Mr.Wong points out that “neon is not a
bad thing if done right.” Indeed, the original
Sands Macau was to have featured a much
more comprehensive external lighting
scheme,whichwascurtailed forcost reasons.
“The result at night would have beenmuch
moreeye-catching,”heclaims.
SandsMacau’smanagement is currently
considering implementing some elements
of theoriginal external lighting scheme,per-
haps as an add-on to the current podium
expansion, which is due for completion in
mid-August. Shortly after, on September 6,
WynnMacauwill open its doors to thepub-
lic – trailing SandsMacau by over two years
to become the city’s second property from
a Vegas-based operator. Wynn Macau is al-
ready testing itsoutdoor“performance lake,”
whichwill feature fire effects and projected
holographic images, and judging by what
we recently saw from the street outside, it
looks like it will be a big crowd-puller. Thus,
Mr.Wongagrees it’sgood forSandsMacau to
have“extra surprises”todrawon.
The podium expansion will add about
270 gaming tables and nearly 300 slot ma-
chines to bring Sands Macau’s capacity to
over 700 tables and 1,200 slots –which, ac-
cording to LVS President and COOWilliam
Weidner“isover three times the initial capac-
ity”ofWynnMacau.
Despite the famous rivalry between
SteveWynnandLVSChairmanSheldonAdel-
son, Mr. Weidner acknowledges that Wynn
Macauwill providea level ofquality thatwill
draw new visitors to Macau and boost the
marketplace, while many of the quick and
cheap properties going up around the city
will quickly fall by thewayside.Mr.Weidner
is especially critical of the casinos converted
from disused office or residential buildings,
including Galaxy’s Waldo, which sits oppo-
siteSandsMacauonFriendshipAvenue,and
the nearby Casa Real, Golden Dragon and
Emperor Palace,whichoperate under the li-
censeofStanleyHo’sSJM.Thequick-fixesare
intended to save time and money, but Mr.
Weidner believes such properties will soon
be rendered obsolete by the glitzy new de-
velopments set toopenaround thecity.
Mr.Weidner says the podium expansion
will provide Sands Macau “capacity tomeet
the increasing importance of themassmar-
ket, whichwe believe will provide the lion’s
shareofMacau’smarket growth in the years
ahead.” Indeed, as Deutsche Bank’s Karen
Tangpoints out inher“2QMacauTrends”on
page 16, Macau’s growth is currently being
drivenalmost solelyby themassmarket.
Thepodium expansionwill make Sands
Macau the largest casino in the world un-
til LVS opens its mammoth US$2.3 billion
Venetian Macau casino resort in mid-2007,
with 750 tables and 4,000 slot machines.
Mr.Wong explains the configuration of the
podium expansion “is different in that the
original Sands is one huge atrium space.
The new extension is on 6 floors, although
itwill blend inwith the various levels of the
mainarea.”
Eachnew level of thepodiumexpansion
will haveagrossareaof 2,400 sq.metres.Ac-
cording toMr.Wong,thefirst levelwillbe the
ground floor lobby of a future hotel annex,
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