You aren’t the only one sporting a new look in the New Year. Recently, Tao Group has updated the appearance of several of its Las Vegas venues. A Strip-side staple since the debut of Tao Restaurant and Nightclub at the Venetian in 2005, the group is moving into 2014 loaded with modern design and technology.
At the Palazzo, Lavo Nightclub underwent renovations December 9-27, during which the club was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy lounge. Downstairs, Lavo Restaurant was also expanded into its adjacent former lounge space. The restaurant can now accommodate additional patrons even when the patio is closed in the winter months. Guests in the new Lavo Lounge, which officially reopened January 14, can also partake in small plates (or the full menu, by request) till 10 p.m.
Reincarnated by designer Hayley Hunter, the upstairs space shows few signs of its past life as a nightclub. The DJ booth that once dominated the dance floor has been scaled down and tucked into a corner, while the banquette-style seating that lined the perimeter of the floor has been replaced with sleek couches. The mirror ball is also gone, and in its place is an elegant crimson chandelier. These differences reflect not just an aesthetic redesign, but also an intentional repurposing of the space.
With these changes, Lavo is able to offer an experience “besides a booming dance floor,” Tao Group managing partner Jason Strauss says. He describes the space as “scene-driven,” artfully decorated and dedicated to socializing rather than just dancing. He hopes it will be a sophisticated spot where guests can come in for cocktails, order small plates and carry a conversation without having to compete with loud music.
Additional features at Lavo will also offer a more flexible use of the room. A drape will soon be installed along the back wall that, as Strauss explains, can create a more intimate experience for private functions. The collage work by local artist Cass Fuller that’s been added to the walls can be layered over and refreshed to create new looks over time. And award-winning mixologist Rodger Gillespie, formerly of Vesper in the Cosmopolitan, has been added to the roster.
In the two weeks before New Year’s Eve, Tao Nightclub also received a makeover, though without having to close its doors. The ceiling was stripped and raised to install a new system from Martin Lighting. As part of the upgrade, the DJ booth has been relocated to become the center of a new technological throne: An LED screen above displays flashing graphics that continue onto the ceiling beams and project out across the dance floor. When performers visit the club, they’ll now be visible to partygoers from any vantage point thanks to a built-in stage above the booth.
And yes, the bottle fairies will continue to take wing.
Not to be left out, Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan was transformed as well. Late last year, the pool deck was covered so that the outdoor space could be used throughout the winter. In addition to its functional purpose, the Dayclub Dome reflects light from video pillars and newly installed strobe lasers (twice the strength of those used indoors), creating a wash of color between its white walls and transparent ceiling, at least until the dome is removed for pool season.
Still ahead, Strauss confirms that renovations to Tao Restaurant and Tao Beach will occur in the coming months.
So, how’s your New Year’s resolution coming along?