Las Vegas is much more than gambling and partying: It is a place where major business is conducted and usually plenty of construction activity is happening. Considering that the city can handle conventions on a global scale (and you can visit Paris, New York, the Sahara Desert and more), Las Vegas has the biggest hotels, the biggest shows with the biggest stars. Las Vegas is bold, progressive and does not apologize for what it is. Las Vegas is not afraid to try bold new things.
Recently, the city has made its largest gamble to date-the opening of CityCenter. A gargantuan construction project, it took eight prominent architects to design and five major wall and ceiling contractors working on the project at the same time. CityCenter features six new tower hotels with exclusive restaurants, nightclubs, residences, high-end shops and fine art, all in the heart of the Strip. Estimates are the project could eventually cost more than $11 billion. That’s big, that’s impressive and that’s America. Look for Walls & Ceilings’ coverage of this project in the spring.
What else proves Las Vegas represents America? Many times, the city has been counted as down and out, only to find that it continues to re-invent itself. Las Vegas, like America, has the confidence, skill and vision to make it work and not be chained to the past. When others think it is impossible, Las Vegas proceeds to prove them wrong.
Walking down the Strip, you can listen to people from other countries comment to each other “I have never seen anything like this.” They are truly impressed with the “wow” factor of Las Vegas. This is why I believe Las Vegas represents America. These are many of the same traits foreigners think of America as a whole. But there is still more to Las Vegas. Many think that Las Vegas is a decadent city that does not care for its citizens but construction and service work is done with nearly 100 percent of the employees receiving good wages to afford homes, and they too receive health and welfare benefits.
But there is still another reason why Las Vegas represents America-many either love or hate the place.
Many foreigners feel about America the way Americans feel about Las Vegas. McDonalds is a good analogy. To Europeans, McDonalds represents America and the American way of life. Our lifestyle is a definite change from the traditional European lifestyle. It would stand to reason McDonalds and their American hamburgers would never make it in Europe. However, McDonalds is in France, England and Germany, and they are doing well. Is it the American tourists in Europe that frequent these businesses? No, as these chains are filled with Europeans also.
I think the world finds America too big, over expansive-and above all-a change in their way of life. They are terrified America could change the world they know. Like Las Vegas, it is anything but traditional and it represents change. McDonalds, like America, is willing to make some changes to adapt to local culture.
Traditions are great and should be preserved and honored, but not at a cost of being blind to the future. The wall and ceiling industry must also be willing to adapt to changes. This is a global economy and those who want to remain relevant must recognize and adapt to change, not stubbornly hang on to a tradition simply for tradition’s sake and ignore progress. I have family in Europe and it appears the way of life there is changing; some items for the better, some for the worse. Whether we like it or not, things change. Las Vegas, like America, is leading the way.
So the next time you are in Las Vegas on the Strip, check out CityCenter and be prepared to be “wowed.” Also, look around at all the people from other countries around the world and give a listen in. W&C