Hard Rock Hotel Paradise Tower Hits the Jackpot
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a premier destination entertainment resort in Las Vegas that features the 11-story Hard Rock Hotel tower with 640 guest rooms; the 17-story Paradise Tower with 490 rooms and suites; and the all-suite HRH Tower with 359 suites, eight spa villas and seven penthouse suites. The property also boasts a large casino space; flexible meeting and convention areas; 4.8 acres of tropical pool paradise; a concert venue, nightclubs, restaurants, lounges, retail stores and a fitness center.
“At the time, the other first-class hotels in the Vegas market place were vying to out-glitz and out-glamour each other, but they were not achieving authentic quality,” Zeff said. “I wanted to break that paradigm and deliver something totally unexpected. I wanted to deliver a $250/night room that looks amazing and feels spectacular,” he said.
Zeff is known for making bold, audacious brand statements with his design work. His natural fusion design philosophy is all about using artistry, technology and innovation to communicate brand. The Zeff team set about conceptualizing ways to convey the Hard Rock brand in a way that was elegant, functional and entertaining - with a huge wow factor.
The Hard Rock was the first boutique branded hotel in Las Vegas. Given that it is a rebellious brand that caters to 20-somethings, Zeff’s team sought to produce a look and feel that was hot, sensual and somewhat Bohemian. “We wanted to incorporate the Hard Rock’s rampant craziness but not make it a raunchy party place,” Zeff said. “Our goal was to create rooms that are chic, luxurious and stylish with a real sense of playfulness and excitement.”
It was also extremely important that everything in the rooms be durable and tough enough to withstand heavy-duty wear and tear. The Hard Rock caters to a pretty abusive demographic. It is not unknown for a HazMat team to be called to the premises on a summer afternoon following Rehab, the Hard Rock’s notorious Sunday afternoon pool party event, according to Zeff.
The rooms’ design theme evolved by way of a conceptual process that identified four iconic female archetypes: Biker Girl, Party Girl, Glamour Girl and Dom (Dominatrix) Girl. The design development team fashioned an environment geared to the lifestyle of each of the archetypes using texture, color, furniture, fixtures, lighting and spatial arrangements. Employing this female iconography, the design team communicated their vision to the hotel’s stakeholders, including the owners, operators, funders, component manufacturers and others.
In the end, the Biker Girl thematic - with some elements of Dom Girl woven in - prevailed. And what emerged was a concept that blends comfort, luxury and funkiness, and that incorporates textures, colors, shapes, lighting, componentry and furnishings into the vibe. “People could envision the look and feel of a room that Biker Girl would inhabit, and so it was easy for everyone to understand the vision and support the concept,” Zeff said.
In Biker Girl’s living space different materials combine in unusual ways to give the rooms a totally eclectic look. The carpeting, for example, is plush, but a bit twisted with a woven tattoo-like motif. The silver-studded velvet drapes, antique mirrors, rivet-riddled leather frames, and even the custom wallpaper created by Carla Weisberg - all are distinctive and evocative of Biker Girl’s habitat. The lighting, fixtures, furniture - everything is functional and versatile, yet a bit quirky in keeping with the Hard Rock’s unconventional brand.
The goal for the furniture was to appear to be an arrangement of individual pieces from different places as opposed to the typical modular built-in system that is found in most hotels. Although everything was carefully selected and placed, the rooms have a random, unfettered look and feel.
The furniture itself is comprised of components that were made off-site and put together in a tightly orchestrated on-site assembly process. Among the four companies that provided components, Timber Products’ Spectrum Division supplied nearly 17,000 cut-to-size pieces of B1 white maple MDF. The pieces were fully CNC machined, edgebanded and drilled with holes for shelves and dowel assembly.
“Once we were given the specifications by Forest Plywood Sales, our distributor in La Mirada CA, we then utilized our components machines to manufacture exactly what the fabricator needed and shipped the components from our facility ready to be assembled and installed,” said Lori Burke, Timber Products’ Spectrum Division manager.
“MDF was ideal for the job,” she noted. “MDF is smooth, durable, sturdy and great to work with. The European hinges that were specified required that a round divot be routed into the panels. MDF is good for machining, yet dense enough to hold screws well.”
MDF is also great for laminating since the surface is extremely smooth. This was important because the job called for a deep ebony finish on the veneer and even the slightest defect would be magnified by the dark stain. “Any bumps, ripples or flaws would jump right out in this type of finish, so the panels had to be done right from the beginning,” stated Roger Rutan, Timber Products’ VP of Marketing.
Because MDF is made with 100% recycled post-industrial wood waste, the manufacturing process was economically and environmentally efficient. Furthermore, since Timber Products is a vertically integrated company, it sources veneer and fiber from its own SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) certified forest lands and owns its own hardwood plywood mills, particle board manufacturing plants and lamination facilities located in proximity to each other. “We have a full cycle operation from forest to end product,” said Rutan “This ensures that we maintain consistency throughout the entire process, from the lumber source throughout all cutting, edgeboarding, drilling, and machining.”
It also means that there is virtually no residual wood waste generated from the manufacturing process. “Nothing goes to a landfill. If any components do not meet standard, they are recycled back into the manufacturing process,” according to Rutan.
Within six weeks of order placement, the Timber Products custom components were sent to Las Vegas to be assembled into entertainment centers, nightstands, dressers, cabinets, headboards and closets, using a preassembly methodology that was specified by the project’s operations manager. Some of the pieces were quite intricate. For example, an innovative wall-mounted panel system incorporates three panels that comprise a headboard, a sconce lighting system and side tables together with all associated wire management. The headboard is mimicked on the opposite wall by a credenza, and, taken together, these components create the feel of a four-poster bed.
“Out of 17,000 parts supplied by Timber Products not a single one was rejected by the client based on defects or sizing,” Burke said. “This was a real testament to both our manufacturing capabilities and our quality control procedures. The entire process was extremely efficient and showcased Timber Products’ capabilities with components.”
Once the products were onsite, the assembly and installation procedure was meticulously orchestrated and coordinated. Zeff specified that this process should be “idiot-proof.”
The assembly process included the carpeting,wall systems, furniture, fixtures andartwork. Everything was precisely planned,well designed and accurately manufactured. “It required tremendous attention to everydetail,” Zeff said. “We had to squeeze an elephantinto a paper bag in terms of the timing, cost and coordination. Fortunately we were working with a group of people who were willing to collaborate and everything went together like a clock. As a result, we were able to keep costs down and even complete the project early.”
“This high-profile project is a great example of what cut-to-size can do for companies that are looking to save time, money and streamline a job,” said Timber Products’ Rutan. “The Hard Rock was the first job of this magnitude that we did. It opened the door to other large jobs for clients such as the U.S. government, the U.S. military, and other customers in the hospitality industry.
The finished rooms in the Hard Rock Hotel Paradise Tower are chic, sophisticated, contemporary and yet wanton. They provide optimal comfort and function by day and then come alive for pleasure and excitement at night. As Mark Zeff put it: “This is a place for people who appreciate 600-thread count bed sheets but are, at heart, wild and crazy.”