Presented by: Jonathon Anderson
‘The Waiting Game’ is a small park installed in a downtown parking spot. This parklet is a response to two issues in Downtown Las Vegas: a lack of green space and overcrowded restaurants. The parklet is adjacent to a recently refurbished building containing new restaurants from established and popular chefs. It brings new park space to an impoverished downtown and helps make the dining experience more fun and educational.
During the beginning phase of the project, we worked with community members and organizations. Two community non-profits offered to partner with two practicing academics from Interior Design and Architecture, to not only design but to build the parklet. The non-profits advocate for people living and working in downtowns to connect with nature. They felt the parklet would help their initiatives, and a corporate partner interested in the environment around the building wanted to extend the interior space for their tenants into the street. The result gives a small park space to the downtown community.
For the parklet program, the community wanted a table with seats and an area for standing and having cocktails. As a result, The Waiting Game was designed to be an extension of the interior restaurant spaces and is a public park providing shade from the desert sun.
Realizing the inherent design challenge of making a lasting parklet, we turned to durable materials and innovative fabrication methods. Tables, chairs, planters and a deck were built from composite decking. The tables and chairs were wrapped in Corian – typically an indoor countertop material. Las Vegas is a hot environment, and Corian’s durability in the heat made it an excellent material to use as the finish surface on the furniture. The Corian tops were also receptive to digital fabrication methods.
We laser-etched game boards on the table surface, so people could check out games from the local restaurants and play them while they waited for a table or brought their food outside. We inscribed messaging about nature and the indigenous species people could see in and around Las Vegas. The table had a map of the Las Vegas metropolitan area and region with directions to parks, and the chairs and vertical surfaces had digitally etched drawings of the species with interesting facts about them. We placed links to social media sites for people to be able to learn more about the parks and ecosystems around them, extending the park into the virtual realm.
The shading canopy construction included painted steel and polycarbonate panels. A graphic scheme cut from colorful translucent vinyl and adhered to the polycarbonate panels draws attention to the parklet in the busy downtown environment. As the sun moves, the colorful design paints the street, parklet surfaces, and sidewalk. This visual interest and carefully designed furniture provided a space welcoming, comfortable and needed by the growing Downtown Las Vegas community.