Contract - Boys Gone Wild: Johnny Smalls, Las Vegas, by Mr. Important Design

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Boys Gone Wild: Johnny Smalls, Las Vegas, by Mr. Important Design

29 October, 2010

-By Jana Schiowitz


Eccentricity best describes designer Charles Doell's latest trip into design: Johnny Smalls, housed in the new HRH Tower of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Doell and his Oakland, Calif.-based firm Mr. Important Design focused on a bad boy character named Johnny for the design concept, setting up the restaurant like a walkthrough of his home. "The name is a street reference to a cigarette with marijuana in it and even though I was unaware of that at the time, it did fit with the character I imagined Johnny Smalls to be," says Doell.

With the image of a flamboyant prankster in mind, Doell mixed and matched textures, colors, and furniture to create what might resemble Johnny and Ms. Smalls' home with a "mushroom eating, champagne drinking squirrel, a cigar-smoking pug, and their thoroughbred horses." The 4,000-sq.-ft. casual restaurant (a collaboration between the Dolce Group and the Nightlife Group) is divided into three rooms: the bar area (kitchen), the mid-level lounge (dining room), and the upper level (living room), and the eatery features small plates like "Magic Mushrooms" and "Small Balls." Also found is a bold design aesthetic: velvets, stripes, equestrian-themed fabric; vintage lamps from the 1960s and '70s; Saarinen chairs wrapped in embossed pleather; and barstools from the '60s, freestanding mushroom tables, and Tiffany lamps. "We do take small pleasure at breaking certain design taboos," says Doell. "I believe we broke the unspoken rule that has been in place since the early '80s that dictates Tiffany lamps are verboten in 'design' interiors," he explains.

screens_provide_privacyAmidst the wild interiors, wall murals are a real eye-catcher. In Johnny's mural, he has his cigar-smoking pug by his side. "He is floating in some psychedelic space on his favorite comfy chair," Doell says. His wife, Ms. Smalls, is covered in Dolce & Gabbana jewelry, a Gucci bag, tattoos, and a G-string in her mural. "Seeing the space just prior to opening was especially fun for me," Doell says. "You fear some kind of overwhelming visual cacophony when you do things like this, but I was pleased and delighted to find the space beautiful with a strange, but comforting logic to it. It has a certain restrained psychedelia about it, a kind of a moody happiness."

See more images in our photo gallery below.


Owner: Dolce Group and the Nightlife Group
Architecture Firm: Klai Juba Architecture, Las Vegas
Architecture Project Team: Jon Devries, project architect
Interior Design Firm: Mr. Important Design, Oakland, California
Interior Design Project Team: Charles Doell, principal and lead designer and Miriam Marchevsky, designer
Contractor: MJ Dean
Purchasing Firm: Hard Rock Development
Consultant: Ken Murphy of KMA
Colored Glass: Architectural Glass Art Inc.
Custom Chairs: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by SkyPad
Custom Booths: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by West Coast Industry
Custom Wallcovering: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by RJF International
Custom Chandeliers: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by lighting Artistry, Hallmark Lighting, and Orion Chandelier Inc.

BAR/KITCHEN AREA
Dear Ingo Light: Ron Gilad for Moooi
Mushroom Tables: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by Beverly Manufacturing
Custom Stools: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by SkyPad
Custom Murals: Designed by Mr. Important Design; painting by Mural Arts

UPPER LIVING ROOM
Carpet: Todd Oldham for Durkan Carpet
Custom Murals: Designed by Mr. Important Design; painting by Mural Arts
Fireplace: FireOrb

UPPER DINING ROOM
Printed Curtain: Printing by Opuzen Fabrics, artwork from Trunk Archives with
Photography by Bruno Dayan
Upholstery Fabric: Maharam

 --Hospitality Design, sister publication of Contract magazine




Boys Gone Wild: Johnny Smalls, Las Vegas, by Mr. Important Design

29 October, 2010


Bruno Dayan

Eccentricity best describes designer Charles Doell's latest trip into design: Johnny Smalls, housed in the new HRH Tower of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Doell and his Oakland, Calif.-based firm Mr. Important Design focused on a bad boy character named Johnny for the design concept, setting up the restaurant like a walkthrough of his home. "The name is a street reference to a cigarette with marijuana in it and even though I was unaware of that at the time, it did fit with the character I imagined Johnny Smalls to be," says Doell.

With the image of a flamboyant prankster in mind, Doell mixed and matched textures, colors, and furniture to create what might resemble Johnny and Ms. Smalls' home with a "mushroom eating, champagne drinking squirrel, a cigar-smoking pug, and their thoroughbred horses." The 4,000-sq.-ft. casual restaurant (a collaboration between the Dolce Group and the Nightlife Group) is divided into three rooms: the bar area (kitchen), the mid-level lounge (dining room), and the upper level (living room), and the eatery features small plates like "Magic Mushrooms" and "Small Balls." Also found is a bold design aesthetic: velvets, stripes, equestrian-themed fabric; vintage lamps from the 1960s and '70s; Saarinen chairs wrapped in embossed pleather; and barstools from the '60s, freestanding mushroom tables, and Tiffany lamps. "We do take small pleasure at breaking certain design taboos," says Doell. "I believe we broke the unspoken rule that has been in place since the early '80s that dictates Tiffany lamps are verboten in 'design' interiors," he explains.

screens_provide_privacyAmidst the wild interiors, wall murals are a real eye-catcher. In Johnny's mural, he has his cigar-smoking pug by his side. "He is floating in some psychedelic space on his favorite comfy chair," Doell says. His wife, Ms. Smalls, is covered in Dolce & Gabbana jewelry, a Gucci bag, tattoos, and a G-string in her mural. "Seeing the space just prior to opening was especially fun for me," Doell says. "You fear some kind of overwhelming visual cacophony when you do things like this, but I was pleased and delighted to find the space beautiful with a strange, but comforting logic to it. It has a certain restrained psychedelia about it, a kind of a moody happiness."

See more images in our photo gallery below.


Owner: Dolce Group and the Nightlife Group
Architecture Firm: Klai Juba Architecture, Las Vegas
Architecture Project Team: Jon Devries, project architect
Interior Design Firm: Mr. Important Design, Oakland, California
Interior Design Project Team: Charles Doell, principal and lead designer and Miriam Marchevsky, designer
Contractor: MJ Dean
Purchasing Firm: Hard Rock Development
Consultant: Ken Murphy of KMA
Colored Glass: Architectural Glass Art Inc.
Custom Chairs: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by SkyPad
Custom Booths: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by West Coast Industry
Custom Wallcovering: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by RJF International
Custom Chandeliers: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by lighting Artistry, Hallmark Lighting, and Orion Chandelier Inc.

BAR/KITCHEN AREA
Dear Ingo Light: Ron Gilad for Moooi
Mushroom Tables: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by Beverly Manufacturing
Custom Stools: Designed by Mr. Important Design; fabricated by SkyPad
Custom Murals: Designed by Mr. Important Design; painting by Mural Arts

UPPER LIVING ROOM
Carpet: Todd Oldham for Durkan Carpet
Custom Murals: Designed by Mr. Important Design; painting by Mural Arts
Fireplace: FireOrb

UPPER DINING ROOM
Printed Curtain: Printing by Opuzen Fabrics, artwork from Trunk Archives with
Photography by Bruno Dayan
Upholstery Fabric: Maharam

 --Hospitality Design, sister publication of Contract magazine

 


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