Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simplify for Good Taste and Serenity

After a recent business trip to Las Vegas, it is apparent that even the luxurious world of destination hotels is on a path to simplify during the current economic fluctuations. I am always entertained and amazed at the various exhibits hotels create in order to garner the attention of visitors. The Plaza Athenee in Paris wows with flowers; the Ritz in London oozes with opulence; but the hotels in Vegas simply overwhelm with sensory overload. Or do they?

I've long been a fan of Dale Chihuly, so the glass flowers at the entrance of the Bellagio always amaze me. Moving through the Lobby, the Conservatory changes plantings and flowers seasonally in order to exhibit fabulous displays of color and sculpture. Butterflies, birds, and interactive sculptures have all had their place in the Conservatory. However, recently, a very Zen feeling has taken over the Conservatory. A Buddhist Zen garden complete with bamboo house occupies one corner. A very simply carved limestone face with shooting streams of water occupies another corner. It is clean and pure in both color and design. Water echoes throughout the space further lending a peaceful feel to the installation. Of course this exhibit was neither inexpensive nor easy to install. Water shoots across exhibits at precisely organized moments and each rock was carefully placed. However, to the average viewer, it conveys a sense of retraint and simplicity. To all, it conveys good taste.

Installations in every public space are planned years in advance. However, the irony was not lost that in this difficult economic time, even the luxurious hotels are accommodating restraint and good taste. Whether by design or pure coincidence, the Conservatory at the Bellagio conveyed the peace and simplicity that every consumer longs for in this time. Simplify for good taste. Simplify for serenity.

St. Andrews from the Cathedral