Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

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CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT May 2016 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • 237 Sight. Sight has always been the biggest player in the five senses game when it comes to design-build. The digital age has been a leading factor in this arena, making it important to combine sight with a meaningful experience. Tradition- al finishes and shapes no longer grab consumers' attention in today's market. Customers have become savvy and have tuned out the ordinary four-corner room, and desire something that will wow them, especially during their shopping or dining experience. In the case of Sushi Samba, a restaurant Forté recently completed in The Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, archi- tecture firm iCrave came to Forté with a mockup of red duct tape twisted to look like "ribbons" that were floating in the air throughout the restaurant. It was then Forté's job to determine how to feasibly construct the hanging ribbons. In the end, Forté used plastic bands and hung them up in the restaurant with wire, suspended from the metal frame in the ceiling, to recreate the design and make the ribbons look like they were floating. Because this particular feature is classi- fied as new construction, a nonflamma- ble noncombustible material must be used to avoid fire danger and pass code. Forté accomplished this task by casting non-flammable glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) drywall material on the ribbons, which passed the fire inspection. iCrave and Sushi Samba were thrilled; and Forté was able to not only adhere to the cost restraints of the project, but also give the owner the distinctive vision they de- sired for the restaurant. It goes beyond the restaurant just making great food — customers who dine at Sushi Samba now get to experience a space unlike any other restaurant they have been to before. Touch. This sense is relevant both literal- ly and figuratively. Customers can experi- ence touch by physically touching various finishes within the environment created, but even more important is the way the customer feels when they are in the space. The Budweiser Trellis — a hospitality pool project recently completed by Forté at The Palms in Las Vegas — created an opportunity for temperature to contrib- ute to the way customers feel throughout their experience at The Palms. With tempera- tures in excess of 110 de- grees at times in Las Ve- gas, thermoception, the ability to sense changes of temperature on the skin, plays an import- ant role in this region. As such, the client had designed an overhang- ing cantilever, which extended far beyond what is typically neces- sary to achieve signifi- cant shaded coverage, in an attempt to help keep the pool guests cool. After reviewing an initial rendering, several contractors looked at the client objectives for the project and deemed it unbuildable — as a cantilever that long would have been too heavy as originally designed; and therefore, could easily col- lapse. Many times, clients have a specific intent but do not understand how, or if, it can actually be built. Forté started with the end result in mind, working togeth- er with the project team to determine a way to construct the cantilever the client envisioned. Consequently, Forté was suc- cessful in creating a beautiful, aesthetic structure with lighter, stronger materials, causing the area to feel 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the current outside tempera- ture, making the space much more com- fortable for the pool guests. Sound. The main objectives of any given venue will determine how the sense of sound will be stimulated among guests. Yet, too often, minute details that impact the senses directly get ignored, such as the acoustics of the room. In the case of Carbone, a restaurant Forté recently con- structed in the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the owner had a specific look in mind for the main dining room of the restaurant — a shimmering gold dome that housed a large Italian chandelier. Unfor- tunately, the dome allowed customers on one side of the room to be able to hear the conversation happening on the other side of the room because the acoustics caused the sound to bounce. During the construction process, Forté identified this flaw in the plans and knew it would be uncomfortable for customers to dine in. As such, an alternative material was suggested, which still gave the client the shimmering gold look they wanted, while muffling the sounds of talking customers. As a result, the key design element — the shimmering dome with the chandelier — not only looked appealing, but now allows for a private dining experience for customers. Today's consumer wants to go some- where which gives them more than just a great meal or fabulous deals on cloth- ing — they want to experience something which leaves them wanting to come back for more. Bottom line: retail, hospitality and gaming venues must be holistic and spectacular in all ways, from the service to the ambiance and the sights. This type of experience immerses the customer into a completely different "world" that embraces and engages each of the five senses, while creating a sense of physical connectedness in today's technology-driv- en, yet "disconnected" world. SCB Scott Acton is the CEO and founder of Forté Specialty Contractors in Las Vegas, a construction firm specializing in the hospitality, restaurant, retail, nightlife and entertainment industries. Sushi Samba is a new restaurant at The Palazzo in Las Vegas that has a lot of visual appeal to create part of its experience.

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