"Casino" is a word that originally meant "house," though it has long been associated with pleasure. Casino restaurant designs are carefully constructed around the expectations of casino visitors to maximize the potential for profits.
While the majority of Britain's 137 casinos feature lackluster design and decor, for most people the word "casino" still evokes a sense of distinctive elegance and prestige. Such expectations may be due to the popularity of the fictional James Bond, whose cinematic adventures include spectacular wins at the wheel amid the splendor of a chic casino. The casino featured in the classic James Bond films was inspired by the existing Grand Casino in Monte Carlo. Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was inspired not only by this Monte Carlo setting, but also by a real-life millionaire.
Monte Carlo's Grand Casino was designed by Charles Garnier, and still maintains its air of graceful glamour today. Since its opening in 1878, this famous structure has set the style for casinos worldwide. The Grand Casino was legendary in its time, and its design represented all that a casino should be. However, this original concept did not stand the test of time. As Las Vegas and Macau began to rule the world of casinos, Trente et Quarante and Chemin de Fer faded away along with ballrooms, sophisticated opera houses and ballet schools. In locations such as Macau, new super casino restaurant designs have arisen to take their place in the modern world of casinos.
Blackpool features another example of good casino design. The first Blackpool casino was built in 1913, and featured a symbolic design and an Indian architectural style. This original casino was replaced by a modern European design that emphasized stylized fun while prohibiting gambling. While this new casino was considered sophisticated and respectable, the fact that gambling was not allowed prevented it from achieving the highest level of success.
The British point of view regarding casino restaurant design is flawed by a refusal to admit that gambling at this level is all about dazzling lights and glitter. Casino architecture must be exciting. Pretending that future casinos will play an upright, commendable role in the regeneration of cities is, at best, humorous. Manchester's casino, for example, should not be a polite construction of curved glass-and-steel roofs.
Casinos have always attracted a wide variety of people from around the world. The success of any casino has invariably depended on excellent design that offers all the elements customers have come to expect from these establishments. Superior casino and casino restaurant design meets or surpasses customer expectations for excitement, exquisite glamour and elegance. Whether developing new properties or renovating existing buildings, owners should approach design with utmost care and professionalism.
Paul Kelly is the man behind some of Australia's most successful food and beverage venues. Coming into our 15th year of business, Paul Kelly Design is turning the corner on 150 projects, each a signature space, each uniquely different and each one a personal creation of Paul Kelly and his team.