Best Casino Architecture and Design

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B. Wright Friday, June 7, 2019

It is no secret that casinos are places of pomp and style. From the largest casinos in the world to the small ones attached to shopping malls, they all share certain qualities. Casino owners are very careful about how they design the experiences of their clientele and there are many good reasons for the amount of attention they put into the structures we game in.

On a basic level, Casinos should be large and airy, with plenty of space to move around. That said, they also need to be easy to understand and maintain a certain level of convenience. Comfort isn’t the last stop, however. The world’s best casinos also include features that make people feel like a million bucks. Original works of art, created by specialized craftsmen and artisans are often found in large casinos, as are statues, grand chandeliers, and million-dollar carpets. Casinos are epicentres for the movement of money and they must exude that fact as well as they can.

Beyond making their players feel like kings and queens, casino owners also enjoy creating icons within the cities they operate in. There is a continual process of casino owners upping the game, becoming more and more extravagant with each new design but that is not to say there are no old casinos that have extravagance in spades. It is of no consequence whether a casino is looking to create a small township in which players can gamble in for weeks, or they have something smaller and simpler in mind, good casino owners understand the importance that architecture has in putting their casino on the map.

Here is a short list of some of our favourite casinos, worldwide, in terms of their architecture and overall player experience.

Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco

Casino de Monte Carlo, in Monaco, is one of the most impressive gambling houses around. Built in 1863, the architectural masterpiece that is Casino de Monte Carlo has done very well to put Monaco on the map. Designed by Charles Garnier, this casino is one of the most beautiful structures you will see used for a casino. And, in fact, Casino de Monte Carlo was designed and built specifically as a casino. The bas-reliefs, sculptures, Boucher-style frescoes, and the outstanding interior all come together to create an experience that is nothing short of breathtaking.

This casino and resort has been the home of some of Europe’s most influential gaming and leisure activities since its beginning. The lavish atmosphere, elegant setting, and perfect selection of games are all well suited to the types of players who frequent this casino. If you are looking for a casino built to the same standards as the Paris Opera, Casino de Monte Carlo is certainly one of the best choices that you’ve got.

The Grand Lisboa, China

The Grand Lisboa, in Macau, is a casino unlike any other the world. While many architects go for tried-and-true designs, the people who built the Grand Lisboa were truly on to something different. Standing taller than anything else in the city, this casino is shaped like a budding lotus flower which is completely encased in gold trim glass. It is possible to see the Grand Lisboa from almost every part of the city and that, in part, is why this casino has become such an incredible icon and tourist destination.

The Grand Lisboa was designed by Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man to create an unforgettable experience for all those who pass by its doors. Costing over $3 billion to build, the hotel has almost 700 rooms scattered throughout almost 50 floors, in a building it’s almost 900 feet tall. Immediately in front of the building is a very large spherical structure which serves as a grand entrance, of sorts, along with a full-size casino.

The Venetian, China

Coming in at number three on the list, we have The Venetian Macau. The Venetian is the largest single-structure casino and resort in all of Asia considering that it is all built as one massive building.

The Venetian has an expensive network of canals, both inside and out, on which visitors can go on gondola rides as if they were visiting the famed European city of Venice. The Venetian is more than just canals, though. The 3000-room hotel and casino is full of architectural reminders of Venice. The Rialto Bridge, external façades, and Campanile, all come together to create the desired effect.

Visitors to The Venetian will quickly notice the Gothic influence and architectural similarities with Venice, such as the Byzantine and Ottoman influences, detailed mosaics, a flair for artistic expression.

Morpheus Hotel, China

To see the Morpheus Hotel is a mindbending experience. Your eyes will struggle to keep lines straight where the building twists and pulls in different directions. Noted as the first high-rise structure to be built with an exoskeleton, the Morpheus Hotel is about as unique as they come.

Thanks to the exoskeleton, this casino and hotel is able to stand 40 stories without any internal load-bearing columns or walls. What you get are two large buildings standing side-by-side and joined three places along the centre to create passageways from one side to another. While the exterior of the building is certainly impressive, moving inside might even be more so.

Again, thanks to the exoskeleton design, the interior spaces are vast and uninterrupted. The flowing curvature of the walls and interior design elements keep your eyes moving at a steady pace from one feature to another.

Sun City, South Africa

Sun City is another resort and Casino that takes things to the next level. Just a couple hours north of Johannesburg Sun City includes four different resorts, a world-class golf course, a large botanical garden, beachside access, and one of the best casinos in all of South Africa.

Designed to resemble a mythical lost African kingdom, Sun City will truly take you into another time and place. Everything about the atmosphere, from the mosaics, the fountains and waterways, the frescoes, and everything in between, is certainly enough to put your mind at ease.

The building is as impressive as the attention to detail that has been put into the design work of this fantastic hotel and casino. The stately decadence of the exterior makes for a perfect backdrop to the rest of the resort and its tall, majestic towers can be seen from every location within Sun City.

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Moving on to Las Vegas, we could talk about grand architecture without talking about The Bellagio. An iconic structure within the famed gambling city of Las Vegas, The Bellagio is a work of art. The inspiration for much of the architecture and design throughout The Bellagio comes from Italy but also has a decidedly American feel as well.

Spread across the property are almost 4000 hotel rooms, including private Italian-style villas, penthouse suites, and a wide variety of other options. The 100,000 sq ft of gaming space, however, is where most guests spend much of their time.

The impressive building aside, another unique feature of The Bellagio is the large fountain show that takes place in the artificial lake at the centre of the resort. Walking along the expansive gardens and pools, you can’t help but feel like Italian royalty at The Bellagio.

Caesars Palace, USA

Another American casino with incredible architecture is Caesar’s Palace. It is not a new casino by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was built in 1966 but has remained at the top of the casino food chain for many years. Today, the pomp and elegance that the Ancient Rome-themed casino brings with it have the same effect as the day it was built.

With a large statue of Julius Caesar commanding respect at the entrance, the multiple statues throughout the resort, the original artwork adorning the ceilings and walls, and the grand pillars and Roman architecture, visitors to Caesar’s Palace will feel like they are a step above commoner.

One of the defining attributes to Caesar’s Palace is the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace. The 4,500-seat theatre closely resembles the original Colosseum in Rome and is home to the some of the Strip’s best performances.

Casino La Seyne, South France

A fairly new casino in the south of France that would interest anyone with an eye for style and modern design is the Casino La Seyne. Everything from the locale to the design choices taken by the architects is unique to this casino. They didn’t opt for the megastructure approach that many others do. Instead, they created a casino that perfectly blends in with its surroundings on an old shipping dock.

The modern casino design is much wider than it is tall, covering a large area of the docks.  There is 55,000 square feet of space available for a theatre, large casino, event centre and guest rooms. You will also find an observation tower overlooking the nearby bay as well as a restaurant that juts out to the sea.

Montrond-Les-Bains Casino, France

For another unique approach, we don’t have to look very far. The Montrond-Les-Bains Casino is designed by the same team that put the Casino La Seyne together. And, similarly, this casino complex is wider than it is tall.

The beautiful thing about the Montrond-Les-Bains Casino is that the building has a layered appearance that gives a feeling of modernity while also providing an air of lightness throughout. The top half of the blocks making up the complex are steel, while the bottom layer is glass, allowing the various sections to seem like one. Whether visitors come to this casino for a leisurely night out, a business conference, or a night of gambling, they can be sure that they will do it in comfort.

Casino Baden-Baden, Germany

Casino Baden-Baden, in Germany, is one of Europe’s oldest gambling houses. It was modelled after the French palaces of the 17th century and it still shows today. Without the gaming tables adorning the casino floor, one could easily mistake the casino for a museum. The decadent artwork, the statues, the chandeliers, tapestries, and everything in between certainly keep your eyes and imagination busy.

Like the interior, the exterior is reminiscent of classic French architecture. When Casino Baden-Baden was built, the town by the same name was mostly French-speaking and became the German home to gambling of all sorts when gaming activities were banned by the French government. It is certainly easy to see Casino Baden-Baden as a 19th Century headquarters for gaming.  

Chaves Hotel Casino, Portugal

While not the largest casino on out list, Chaves Hotel Casino stands in a class of its own where design and architecture are concerned. The architects responsible for the Chaves Hotel Casino’s unique look and feel approached the project with the idea that gaming and comfort should take equal seats at the helm, as should a balance with the natural features of the building site.

The building is constructed with zinc and concrete and has a cool grey tone. The colour looks very good next to the rolling green hills that support the casino, but the shape of the building is what will really draw you in. The building sits atop a hill and contours perfectly with the slope of the hill. From some angles, the casino appears to be a single, multi-storied building only large enough to house a restaurant, but from others, it is possible to see all that the hotel has to offer.

Costa Brava Gran Casino, Spain

Costa Brava Gran Casino, in Spain, is yet another beautiful casino that we had to put on the list. This casino was designed with duality in mind, and it certainly shows. From afar, it seems that Gran Casino is emerging from the ground and has yet to complete its ascension. The front of the casino faces the street and features a large triangular shape to draw in your eyes. With the centre being the highest and most impressive part, it feels as if the casino stretches out for miles to the vanishing points on either side.

Looking at this impressive casino from the back, however, would lead you to think there was little more than a garden taking up the large space occupied by the casino. The hotel is on the opposite side from the street and its gardens reach the pinnacle of Gran Casino’s rooftop. Inside, the expansive three floors provide ample room for gaming, conference centres and convention halls, administration space, and more.

Casino and Hotel Ovalle, Chile

Moving on to Chile, we have one of our favourites from the region. The Casino and Hotel Ovalle is a structure that will make you appreciate the subtle beauty that comes from nature. Located in the valley of the Limari, the designers behind the project used the natural contours of the land as well as the stone from the vicinity to create a place of peace and relaxation that jives perfectly with its environment.

What is most notable about the design work that went into this hotel and casino is that fact that each section of the building was designed with its purpose in mind. That is to say, the intended mood for each area is felt, and that is a quality that the resort uses well to its advantage. Whether you are looking for a few riveting hours of fun at one of the many tables on offer, you need to relax at the spa, or you just want to take in all the natural beauty that surrounds this location, the structure itself will help you experience it for all that it is.

Talca Hotel and Casino, Chile

The Talca Hotel and Casino, in Chile, had several hurdles to pass over before finding a working design solution. What they came up with was at once ingenious and uniquely attractive. The owners focused much of their attention on creating a building/complex space that would stand out without being over-the-top. They also wanted to create a structure that could easily handle a large amount of heat management, both internal and external.

To answer the first question, the design team created a large complex covered in a patterned overlay. Not only does the outer ‘shell’ give a sense of unity to the casino, but it also has practical features that improve the heat issues that face the resort. Also in response to potential heat issues, is the interior design. Floors are linked in many places vertically to give the heat a place to go. The three-story ceilings are also very good for giving this hotel a grand look and feel that you just can’t get anywhere else. 

Conclusion

There is no arguing the fact that architecture is one of the most impressive feats of human civilization. Casino owners do well in showing what we value in our society. By looking at all the various casino designs, we can easily see how important leisure activities are for us and the monuments built to serve that purpose will stand for many years to come, providing a window into this day and age for future generations to see. Our favourite designs include groundbreaking technological and design innovations, as well as originality. Each of the casinos on our list brings something unique to the global gambling community, and every one of these designs is a must see if architectural expression is as important to you as it is to us.