Move over Mediterranean — make way for modern. Las Vegas luxury home designers are embracing a look defined as “desert contemporary” after decades of favoring Euro-inspired styles.
“It’s warm and inviting with walls of glass and indoor-outdoor living,” said Jon Sparer, president of the Nevada chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “The colors reflect more of what the desert is — the chartreuse greens, rammed-earth walls, natural materials, glass, concrete and zinc that really work in the valley.
“People are recognizing that we’re not living on the Amalfi Coast and this is more what belongs here. Some of these houses out here look ridiculous in the desert. Our history is not that deep, so it gives you the freedom to build what you want, and just copying old styles from another part of the world really doesn’t make sense.”
We spoke with seven prominent architects and builders shaping the local luxury landscape for their perspective on what they see on the horizon.
Studio g Architecture
“Las Vegas has been very good about doing thematic architecture and replicating other places,” said Gardner, who founded his company in late 2010, after moving here from California. “I was fairly disappointed in generally what we had. Everything was made with stucco.”
Now, however, “we’re really starting to grow up,” said Gardner, 39. “I think one of the challenges from a design standpoint is we have the Strip, where the mentality is to shock and awe with design.”
Gardner, whose firm also handles hotels and design inside high-rises, has worked on projects in MacDonald Highlands, The Ridges and other luxury communities. He and other young architects have tried to “push and elevate the level of design, and it starts by creating a unique piece of architecture” in area homes.
“We’re in a transition period. We went from a Mediterranean period to all-out contemporary boxes to now the design (that) is more unique and individualized.”
It’s better to use more natural materials than the “harsh feel of stucco,” said Gardner, who has used rammed earth in home designs.
“Now we’re starting to see a level of sophistication and refinement.”
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