Let There Be Light! -- The Dome of Spirits features a mixed-media medallion with marble provided by Carrara di Carrara of Las Vegas and bronze center inlay from Arizona Castings of Tempe, Ariz.

Merchant's Harbor features a wooden dock created by KHS & S Contractors of Las Vegas with raw lumber provided by Ganahl Lumber of Las Vegas.
The Desert Passage located at the Aladdin Hotel lifts its ceilings up toward the Nevada sky as if it has always been a part of the Las Vegas strip and the desert landscape that surrounds it.

Taking its theme from the tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights, it is easy to understand why the Desert Passage, with its Moroccan gate on one side and its India gate on the other, settles so well into the dust and neon of Las Vegas.

Like the genie rising out of Aladdin's lamp, the Desert Passage welcomes visitors with grandiose style and more than 130 shops and 14 restaurants covering a 500,000-square-foot area. The Strip's largest retail, dining and entertainment center, the Desert Passage invites visitors to make a wish and then takes them on a journey to find what they desire.

The Rotunda's marble floor by Carrara di Carrara of Las Vegas echoes the warm colors of the desert.
Kevin Horn of RTKL Associates Inc. is one of the interior designers who worked on the Desert Passage project. "The interior is designed to take visitors on a conceptual journey along the old North African spice trade route to India" he explains. "The idea of the project was to lead visitors in a visual transition from the Strip to a gateway that then leads them into a false exterior, where the ceiling looks like the sky and its varying hues and street scenes take visitors to another place and time."

Upon entering the Desert Passage, visitors navigate streets paved with stamped concrete that's designed to resemble the mud-and-brick cobblestone found in cities along the spice route. To segue from one motif to the next, the designers let corners and bends in the road help them to transition into different-themed areas. One of the greatest challenges in changing from scene to scene was to have the flooring reflect the change in environment in a way that wasn't intrusive or abrupt.

Ambling down a cobblestone street and turning around the corner of a building, a Desert Passage visitor can leave a scene filled with street vendors and entertainers and walk into an area called the Merchant's Harbor. The area was designed to emulate an old port and features a wooden dock that was installed on sleepers to evoke the hollow feel of walking on a pier.

Machines create waves that lap against a faux steamship docked in the harbor; simulations of thunder and lightening create passing rainstorms. Designed to conjure the atmosphere of Tangiers and Casablanca during the 1920s and '30s, Merchant's Harbor showcases a well thought-out design transition between dissimilar flooring materials.

Hidden Treasures -- Stamped concrete from Arcon of Nevada imitates the look of marble in the Treasure House.
Different types of flooring are combined on either side of the dock. On one side, a stamped concrete that mimics the grain of wood transitions into the natural wood of the dock. KHS & S Contractors of Las Vegas created the wooden dock from raw lumber provided by Ganahl Lumber of Las Vegas. On the opposite side of the dock, the cobblestone paving gives way to flagstone that tapers out and meshes with a sand-textured stamped concrete which then transitions into real sand.

Open spaces in the Desert Passage, such as The Rotunda and The Dome of Spirits, showcase marble medallions. The Dome of Spirits, in particular, features a mixed-media floor medallion rendered in marble and bronze. Based on Islamic and Moroccan patterns, the medallion mirrors the intense patterns and designs of the domed ceiling above it. Carrara di Carrara of Las Vegas provided the marble for the two spaces and Arizona Castings of Tempe, Ariz., provided the bronze inlay for The Dome of Spirits.

Made for a King -- The Sultan's Palace showcases a Durkan carpet custom made in collaboration with fashion designer Todd Oldham.
Sumptuous gold and warm earthtones welcome visitors to the Sultan's Palace. Emitting a soft glow, the look of the Sultan's Palace was based on a mixture of design concepts gleaned from palaces in India and on the Arabian Peninsula. "During the design and installation process the narrative that we kept in our heads was that this was the palace of an eccentric, young sultan," notes John Van Aken, interior designer with New York City-based Rockwell Group. "The environment was created to reflect a richness and an eccentricity in the decoration."

Bird's Eye View -- An aerial perspective of The Rotunda's intricate marble medallion.
The design team needed a carpet that would echo the texture changes, rich colors and extensive tiling of Sultan's Palace. Fashion designer Todd Oldham, known for his detailed and colorful designs, collaborated with Durkan to create a custom carpet for the area. Oldham worked with the carpet manufacturer to modify an existing Durkan pattern to complement the environment's regional theme.

Spanning cities and times long since past, the Desert Passage located at the Aladdin Hotel holds within its walls a re-creation of magical tales and historical journeys. The smooth transitions from one design motif to another serves as evidence of how versatile flooring can be and what is possible when the right design is combined with the right product.