Extensive stone palette defines Las Vegas resort
November 13, 2009
Among the latest luxury establishments to hit the Las Vegas region is the M Resort, Spa and Casino - located on a 90-acre piece of property on South Las Vegas Boulevard in Henderson, NV. The resort not only attracts guests who are looking to relax, pamper themselves and enjoy Las Vegas nightlife, but it also recently provided the home kitchen to Season 6 contestants on Bravo’s popular television series "Top Chef." Designed and built by Marnell Corrao Associates of Las Vegas, the M Resort is lavishly dressed in Italian marble and Turkish travertine throughout its interior and exterior spaces - creating a warm yet contemporary environment.
“The overall design objective for the M Resort was to do a modern building in Las Vegas and to employ Italian design techniques that you see happening in Europe, but yet [produce] a modern building that was ‘un-themed’ and about space, light and architecture,” said Tony Marnell, Chairman/CEO of Marnell Corrao Associates. “The spaces were relatively designed to their functions, and we thought about how to use glass in an energy-efficient way in the desert. Then we thought about what materials could we use to give that Italian feeling, but do it in a contemporary way. That’s how we got to stone and tile as our materials.”
The tone is set in the lobby with Daino Reale marble on the floor and Noce travertine walls. “We tried to use those two materials for their look and texture, but also for durability,” said Marnell. “We were looking for a material that would work in the desert, and the owner wanted a general warm feel. That’s what led us to the direction of travertine. We were able to finish the material in split-face, honed and polished finishes to give it different textures, light reflection and shadowing.”
Visiting the QuarriesThe stone was quarried and fabricated by FMP srl of Carrara, Italy. “We went to the quarries and took the owner,” said Marnell. “We spent four days doing a variety of mock-ups for the interior walkway surfaces and for the wall surfaces to come up with a saw-cut pattern that is in all the walls. We did a host of different panels and different finishes - staying within the design criteria and curtain wall criteria.”
Marnell went on to explain that a lot of time was dedicated to studying the mock-up panels. “We looked at them in the daytime and in the evening,” he said. “We wanted to see the different lighting patterns.”
The travertine panels adorn the walls throughout the public spaces of the M Resort, including the casino area. Marnell explained that a special curtain wall system was designed to install them.
“I had been flirting with the idea for a long time of doing a curtain wall instead of a typical anchor installation,” said the architect. “The fastening system had to be engineered for this look. We designed the stone patterns at the same time as we were designing the fastening system in conjunction with the look and feel that we wanted.”
Creating stone eleganceIn addition to the travertine, Daino Reale marble floor tiles are also carried throughout the resort. An elaborate entrance to Marinelli’s, an Italian restaurant, is achieved with wide marble steps that were given a bushhammered finish. A dramatic look is also created in the restaurant’s private dining room, where a large polished slab of Daino Reale marble with rough-cut edges forms the tabletop.
A unique look in Terzetto, the M Resort’s upscale steakhouse, was created with onyx. Massive pieces of the material project down from the ceiling and attach to the ends of a long dining table, which is also made from onyx. “The table is hung from the ceiling,” explained Marnell. “[Additionally], we took the bartops, countertops and tabletops, and looked at making them out of a variety of material that would accent against the basic floor and wall.” Broccato marble was chosen for the chef’s table in the restaurant.
While the resort’s upscale restaurants are featured attractions, guests are also drawn to Spa Mio, a luxurious day spa that comprises a 23,000-square-foot space. The spa includes 16 treatment rooms, a fitness center, full-service salon and barber shop and locker rooms. To enhance the glamorous appeal of the facility, Dore Royale marble with a split-face finish was used to create an entry wall.
“Part of the fun is seeing the same material finished in different ways,” said Marnell. “It gives a different feeling. The colors change depending on how much you polish or split it.”
In the guestrooms, Diano Reale marble was used for the walls and floors in the bathrooms. To complement the beige-colored marble, M Brown marble was employed for the vanity tops. “We used marble in the guestrooms because we didn’t want the porosity,” said the architect.
And although the majority of the stone is showcased inside the M Resort, Noce travertine was used for the building’s exterior walls. The sandy shades of the stone complement the resort’s desert environment, and it also works well with the glass used for the upper portion of the structure.
A successful completionAccording to Marnell, approximately a year was devoted to working on the drawings and design of the M Resort, and it took another 17 months to build it. “Installation by far was the hardest part of the project,” he said, adding that the project was completed in March 2009. “Usually it’s the material, but getting the installation correct was the biggest challenge.”
But although challenging, the installation of the extensive amount of stone used throughout the resort was a success, and the design objectives were achieved. “We have gotten a real good reaction of how we did the material and how it is presented,” said Marnell. “We wanted to create an urban resort that would appeal to both the Baby Boomers and younger generations, while incorporating contemporary design and sensual elegance.”