Two new spaces in the recently renovated Palms Casino Resort, in Las Vegas, offer a study in contrasts.
On the one hand: an oasis of class and sophistication, a welcome respite from Sin City’s hedonistic excesses.
On the other hand: the city at its shiniest and slickest, an open-air nightclub where the VIPs come out to play, the bass impacts like a defibrillator, and the 360-degree views will leave you weak at the knees if a night of uninhibited dancing doesn’t.
Camden Cocktail Lounge, on the resort’s ground level, and APEX Social Club, a mere elevator ride away on the astonishing 55th floor, are a couple of the city’s hottest new hotspots, for entirely different reasons. One is decidedly, delightfully un-Vegas. The other is fantastically uber-Vegas.
Both were projects brought to life by hospitality experts Clique Hospitality. Clique founder Andy Masi, designer Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge, along with the resort creative director Tal Cooperman, who provided essential art curation, explained the unique undertaking for Forbes.
Andy, how do you create spaces that appeal to both visitors to Vegas and to locals?
Andy Masi: The key is we really start off asking ourselves who the customer is and what are they looking for. Once we understand the customers’ needs, whether it’s local or a tourist, we then begin to conceive concepts that will deliver the experience they are looking for. Whether it’s a craft cocktail experience set if a very cool lounge environment or it’s a high-end club experience that treats the guest to an energetic at atmosphere accompanied by unparalleled service.
What struck me about Camden Cocktail Lounge is how very un-Vegas it felt. Can you explain the vision for the Lounge, and why the emphasis on it being something of a getaway from Vegas in Vegas?
Andy Masi: What we set out to create is a hip bar that you would find in any metropolitan city. With all the incredible experiences in Vegas we believed that no one was creating this atmosphere for the guest. People from all over the world just want to go to a very cool bar and order the most unique cocktails—that was our goal from the beginning.
Tal, can you tell us a little about the art on display in both spaces?
Tal Cooperman: Both Camden and APEX house artwork that plays into their individual and unique aesthetic. Camden’s Richard Prince paintings combined with Olivia Steele’s “All I Ever Wanted Was Everythin’” piece creates a sexy mood that is matched by the cocktails served. APEX, on the other hand, showcases four of Dustin Yellin’s 3-D collaged “Psychogeographies” and an equally impressive Richard Prince work that visually rivals the famous 55th floor views the nightclub offers. Nowhere else are you able to sip hand crafted cocktails or dance into the early morning hours surrounded by this type of art than at Palms.
Alessandro, any personal favorite details in the design of the Camden Cocktail Lounge and APEX Social Club that you’d like to point out?
Alessandro Munge: There isn’t a singular venue that defines the property, rather a collection of thoughtful elements that all perform as one. I see both spaces as a curation of layers that collectively evoke an emotional reaction. And this to me, is my favorite feature.
"We embedded an undeniable feeling of discovery and mystery"
- Alessandro Munge
We embedded an undeniable feeling of discovery and mystery. I wanted to bring adventure to the property and to inspire the anticipation of a night to remember. We designed entrances for both venues that would capture and fuel these emotions, using completely different design details.
Camden’s glamorous gold accents, expressive silk rugs and sensual velvets are protected by a permeable façade wall disguised as a 15-foot bookcase lined with vibrant luminous novels. We positioned them in such a way to allow for stolen glances from passersby as to spark wonder and ignite the imagination.
With APEX, we took a different approach. The adventure begins from the ground level rather than having the experience starting on the 55th floor. We designed an ultra-dynamic corridor with ombre midnight-blue to black walls to lead guests to a rooftop exclusive elevator. As the ascension begins, curiosities rise and when the elevator finally opens, the dramatic hallway seamlessly continues, drawing guests forward. Ahead, hints of the horizon shine through a translucent 15-foot glass partition—the thrill of discovering something new!
What sort of direction and inspiration did you give Eric Hobbie, the Lounge’s “Head Intoxicologist”, for designing the cocktail menu for the Lounge? And what did he come up with?
Andy Masi: The direction was simple! Please create some mind-blowing cocktails with incredible flavors—for example our Pinkies Up or Lost in The Forest which are not only mind-blowing visually but to the taste buds as well!
Finally, Andy, how would you describe the contrast between the Camden Cocktail Lounge experience and the APEX Social Club experience?
Andy Masi: Well, the simplest answer would be, a lounge like Camden creates an atmosphere where people are casually hanging out, drinking incredible craft cocktails, having a bite and socializing with friends and new acquaintances.
APEX as a social club really turns the energy up and allows the guest to grab a table for themselves and their friends, have some drinks and really let loose and dance.
Both great options. It’s more about what you’re in the mood for.
Published on Forbes #DeLuxe by Darryn King