Photography by Barbara Kraft and Francis George
"I think all designers keep a room in their heads that they really want to do next, and this was one of mine," explains Roger Thomas, Wynn Design and Development’s executive vice president of design, of Sinatra restaurant inside Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. "The components—the rough and the smooth, the dark and the light, the polished and the un-polished, that consistent balance of contrast."
Thomas had multiple chances to perfect the space—three times to be exact. At first, the restaurant’s concept had nothing to do with Frank Sinatra; instead the space was conceived as a more formal, three-meal dining room since it’s located directly under the tower suites. "I wanted to temper elegance with casualness, play one against the other," he says, pointing to paneled walls done in sandblasted red oak, silk chandeliers and wallcoverings, and wasabi-colored marble-topped lounge tables with tree trunk bases. But during the design process, Thomas was asked to also design the Wynn Las Vegas’ tower suites restaurant Tableau, with a more casual, comfortable feel. Comparing the two almost-sister spaces (at least in terms of clientele), he realized a too-elegant space at Encore would be a mistake, and decided to deformalize it. So he reinvented the chandeliers, replacing silk passementerie with hemp ship rope dyed the same green color, tassels with chunky, cut olive green acrylic, and silk shades with burlap. He removed silk wallcoverings, simply painting the walls an olive drab paint in a matte finish. He rethought the carpet design, enlarging a plumed leaf drawing until it was an abstract shape. And he redid the mirrors, substituting velvet with monkey’s fist knots.
It wasn’t until six weeks before the restaurant—which was going to be called Theo after its chef Theo Schoenegger—was to open that Steve Wynn came to Thomas with the opportunity to make it Sinatra’s namesake. "Steve is a long, long time fan of Frank Sinatra from when he was a kid. Frank used to perform at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and did commercials—many of them with Steve—for both hotels. He had long maintained this great friendship with the Sinatra family and executives," explains Thomas. Not wanting to "crap up the room with Sinatra memorabilia," Thomas made minor changes: Sinatra’s music plays; a few large images of him hang throughout; the menu is now covered in black patent leather (Sinatra performed in black patent leather shoes); and at the entrance stands a case done in piano-inspired black lacquer filled with Sinatra’s awards, photos, and letters.
Serendipitously, the room was already outfitted with black trim and orange hues (in the carpet and Chanel tweed upholstery), Sinatra’s favorite colors. "It had the ghost of Frank Sinatra already well ensconced," says Thomas.
But it may be all of the personal pieces and details that make it such a special space for Thomas. As one who always carries a sketchpad, he had been doodling loop d’loops with a rope texture. So he recreated the "drunken rope" (using real rope) on continuously curvilinear edged coffers that open up the ceiling. "I visited the job site every morning, working with the artist and drawing that day’s loops. It was a very intimate creation," he explains of the process, adding that the design also adorns the lizard vinyl barfront. And three of Thomas’ most beloved Parisian flea market finds call Sinatra home: two crystal-beaded obelisks frame the bar, while the matching ship hangs purposely off-center "sailing into nowhere" overhead. "It is really one of my favorite moments that I have ever created," he says.
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Owner Wynn Resorts Las Vegas
Architecture Firm: Butler Ash Worth Architects, Las Vegas
Architecture Project Team: DeRuyter Butler and Glen Ashworth
Interior Design Firm: Wynn Design and Development, Las Vegas
Interior Design Project Team: Roger P. Thomas, Kathleen Charles, and Candace Osborne
Contractor: Tutor: Sablia
Lighting: Brad Bouch and Tom Kowalczuk of WDD
Engineering: WLV Engineering Dept.
Rivoli Armchairs: Roger Thomas Collection for Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman
Banquettes: A. Rudin
Vinyl Upholstery: IZIT
Tweed Upholstery: Metaphores
Exterior Dining Chairs: Roger Thomas Collection from Veneman
Exterior Dining Tabletops: LightBlocks
Barstools: A. Rudin
Majilite Bar Chairs: William Switzer
Cocktail Tables: Ironies
Chandeliers: Alger International
Custom Carpet: Ulster
Artwork Framing: APF
Images: Courtesy of Sinatra Enterprises and MPTV
Drapery Fabric: Henry Calvin
Fabrics and Bises: Bergamo
Parisian Décor: Passementerie
Crystal Ship Chandelier and Obelisks: Saver Antiques
Vases: Thomas Boog