LET THERE BE LIGHT
We go inside the atriums with the team responsible for the care and feeding of Wynn’s twinkling lights and floral topiaries.
In the springtime, bursts of fuchsia and yellow greet guests, and in autumn, the hues take on a warmer tone with gold and crimson shades. Brightened by the sun, which peeks through the atrium’s overhanging foliage and streams through the glass ceiling, the multicolor floral display at Wynn has a personality of its own, taking on new color palettes for five different seasons—chinese New Year, spring, summer, fall, and holiday—throughout the year. It’s a place that makes people smile and stop to drink in their surroundings, a place that transports them beyond the chaos of the nearby casino floor. “Mr. Wynn wants our guests to decompress as they enter our building, and we accomplish this in the atrium with plants, trees, and flowers that are soft, lush, and inviting,” says Gary Cramer, Wynn’s Director of Horticulture. “As you enter our resort, you feel that you have entered another world that makes you want to relax, explore, and enjoy the surroundings.” Wynn’s atriums are among the most photographed locations in the resort, but these flawless displays of opulence don’t design, create, or care for themselves. Many people work closely with Roger Thomas, Executive Vice President of Wynn Design and Development, to ensure that the atriums’ atmosphere is inviting, innovative, and photogenic, without looking forced or stale. Cramer and his team provide Thomas with color and plant samples to review and consider up to a year in advance of their public display. “We constantly look for new concepts, and if we come across something interesting, we present our ideas to Roger for review and incorporate them into future seasons,” Cramer says. “We continually look for new cultivars [plants] that may perform better and offer a fresh look.” The atriums undergo seasonal color changes every three weeks (17 rotations annually). Orders for color cultivars occur six to nine months prior to each season. The rotation of foliage plants depends on the lighting, and while some are changed every few months, others last a few years before being replaced. Most of the colored florals and greenery is sourced from California and Florida. A lot of thought goes into where to position the various flowers and plants in the atriums, so that some are accented or placed in high-profile locations. A customized irrigation system allows a variety of flowers and plants to be mixed, each with a watering schedule suited to its specific requirements. Although seasonal colors are rotated out every three weeks, a full transformation of the atriums takes place literally overnight. A staff of up to 20 people begins working after midnight to change out more than 7,000 sixinch containers, finishing the job by 7 so guests can enjoy the area. “The most challenging aspect is the staging of the flowers,” Cramer says. “We like them to show a perfect amount of color on the day they’re installed, yet we also need to ensure they look spectacular for the three weeks they are on display.” Beyond the blooms, the most significant features of Wynn’s atriums are the mosaics artfully splashed across the floor. Inspiration for the tiled floral patterns came from a carpet designed by Jacques Garcia, and the tiles required thousands of hours of design, invention, and trips to Italy for art direction and product approvals. The glass tiles are an eighth of an inch thick, come in 35 colors, and, like the foliage, require ongoing care. “They are constantly being broken by heavy traffic, luggage carts, and high heels, so we’re always replacing them,” says James Paniagua, manager of carpet and tile at Wynn. Maintenance is constant but well worth it. “People love it,” Paniagua says. “We get comments on it every day.” Four full-time gardeners working in the atriums enjoy a similar experience. “On an average day, they spend 50 percent of their time answering guest questions,” Cramer says. “People are fascinated by what they do, and they are constantly quizzed about how they make the presentation look so spectacular.” n
The mosaics’ tiles required thousands of hours of design, invention, and trips to Italy for art direction.
92 Wynn’s atriums are among the most photographed locations in the resort.