Desert Passage is the centerpiece of the Aladdin Hotel & Casino resort in the heart of the Las Vegas strip. The primary goal at the outset of the project was to create a completely immersive environment so compelling and authentic in its detailing that it would transport guests to a different place and time. Environmental graphic design began with the creation of a story line that took the visitor on a retail "journey" retracing the ancient spice routes from Morocco to India. The story line created a unique, dynamic environment that encouraged a sense of discovery around every corner, and it addressed a challenging circular retail diagram, dictated by the location of an existing performing arts center.
The designers played a key role in the art direction of the overall experience. They conducted extensive research in order to develop authentic tile patterns, wall finishes, architecture, color palettes, painted patterns, light fixtures, furniture, fountains, sculptures, paving patterns, and signage. In a departure from the traditional role the designer plays on a project, the design team worked hand-in-hand with the theme contractor on-site, art directing more than 140 "buildings" and their surrounding environments. In another departure from the traditional model, an elaborate tenant criteria package helped individual tenants fit into the design and overall story, engendering a seamless experience.
"Considering that this project is in Las Vegas, the use of spatial layouts and materials to direct consumers through the space is extremely clever. The signing and facility personality clearly reflect a tasteful representation of a desert town." "More about pattern, texture, and color, this space evokes its intended feel without the usual abundance of signs – usually in plastic – as overdone solutions so often seen in poorly done retail environments, especially in Las Vegas."
Paul F. Jacob III, Katherine J. Sprague (Principals in Charge), Kevin Horn, Marla Nadolney, Mark Demarta, Rodel Manalang, Xavier Garaud