Located in the heart of a bustling entertainment and sports district on the west side of the Phoenix Metro area, the new Desert Diamond West Valley Casino – owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation – is developed around the core concept of a truly unique entertainment experience for regional gaming patrons.
Designed by national casino resort designers, HBG-Hnedak Bobo Group, the firm completed a master plan for a larger proposed casino resort development, planned as a significant amenity within the surrounding West Valley entertainment district.
As phase one of the casino resort complex, the 50,000 square foot casino opened to excited crowds-numbering well over 3,000 guests-on December 19, 2015. The new casino offers a full Class 2 gaming experience with 1089 gaming machines, an edge bar, and a 75-seat food court. The casino and future phases are being constructed on a greenfield site, former agricultural land south of 95th and Northern Avenues in Maricopa County.
“The phase one casino will ultimately complement the overall future resort aesthetic, but will stand-out among subsequent phases with its own unique design and structure,” says Rob Lee, AIA, principal at HBG and project manager for the project.
According to HBG lead designers, Thor Harland and Emily Marshall, IIDA, the angular exterior elevation merges materiality, from its array of soft green and white tiled accents that form the centerpiece to the multi-hued stone at columns and base. Materials combine to form a beautiful contrast against the desert backdrop, gracefully beckoning guests toward the exciting entertainment experience found within.
“Visually, the casino exterior applies a subtle contemporary palette of cool, earthy green tones within an interpretive desert vernacular that speaks to the surrounding region,” says Harland.
Designers chose simple elements without relying on ornamentation. Strong angles found in the Arizona landscape inspired the geometry found within, and are incorporated into the custom lighting, fabric patterns and detail wall accents.
“The high quality casino interiors incorporate a more masculine palette of bright blues, greens, reds, golds and silvers,” adds Marshall. The color palette is enlivened by internally-illuminated, custom-designed circular and trapezoidal lighting elements, which intertwine and hang prominently from an open ceiling plane. Varying lighting styles highlight different gaming and food and beverage zones.
This play of curving and angular geometry is seen clearly at the edge bar, a focal point on the casino floor, which is highlighted by a dramatic, patterned back-bar wall featuring integrated lighting details.
The attention to every detail was deliberate, from the types of slot machines and where they are placed in the facility, to the open aisles, and even the chairs.
Gaming floor chairs were custom-made at a height and style that matches where a patron feels most comfortable sitting, offering wider bottoms and wider backs and comfortable cushioning. Additionally, the aisles between the rows of gaming machines, at 14 feet wide, are two to three feet wider than in most casinos to offer greater accessibility.
The present casino is planned to revert to use as warehouse support space once the larger casino resort experience opens. Because of the transitional nature of the phase one casino, designers used an abundance of sustainable materials, including carpeting made from recycled materials. Paint was used instead of a typical vinyl wall covering, and fixtures were designed to be transportable to the future casino development.
To smartly plan for future expansion, the infrastructure was put in place now to support the full resort build-out to come. The phase one casino is part of an approximately 150,000- square-foot building that houses equipment, furnishings, generators, office workers, heating and cooling towers, security systems, and employee lockers and check-in stations.
“The phase one casino groundbreaking was held in August 2014, and the project construction took just 16 months from start to finish,” says Lee. “Working with the Tohono O’odham Nation and Desert Diamond Casino in this endeavor has been very fulfilling; and our team is enthusiastic about moving forward with future phases.”
Quote from the client:
Treena Parvello, Director of Public Relations and Communications for the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, said “The Enterprise prides itself on developing lasting partnerships with its projects. Hnedak Bobo Group has proven to be a great partner and their extensive experience with Native communities served them well in dealing with the Tohono O’odham Nation. This project also included multiple external challenges, all of which required HBG to work quickly and remain agile. We could not be more pleased with the quality and professionalism HBG demonstrated throughout this process.”