How a custom-engineered, one-of-a-kind ceiling reflects the unique design intent of the world’s first guitar shaped hotel
When executives at Hard Rock International decided to breathe new life into a key Hollywood, FL, property, they knew they wanted to go big. What the architecture and design teams hadn’t expected was that “going big” meant never-before-seen — and in the shape of a Les Paul.
“Our eyes got wide and we said, ‘In the shape of a guitar?’ ” Steve Peck, associate principal at Las Vegas-based Klai Juba Wald Architecture + Interiors, told the Miami Herald in October 2019. “‘OK, but that’s going to come at a cost premium,’” Peck continued. “We didn’t think an owner would go for it.”
The owners did indeed go for it, and the sleek 450-foot-high Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino took on the sleek silhouette of a guitar, its curves gliding through the skyline, its glass façade reflecting the coastal skies around it.
Since its October 2019 opening, the Guitar Hotel, as it’s known, has quickly become one of the most prominent and recognizable attractions in the southern Florida, literally lighting up the night sky—30,000 feet straight up, to be exact—with massive light canons projecting glowing towers of multicolored light that represent the guitar’s neck and strings. It’s a dazzling spectacle that can be seen for miles in every direction—and a fitting display for a destination that took 12 years and $1.5 billion to create, all with the goal of bringing back a once-faded “Vegas” flare to the original resort, which first opened in 2004.
A hotel with such an iconic exterior had to carry the unique aesthetic through to its interior. And that started with the main hotel lobby and hallway, designed by three architectural firms: Klai Juba Wald Architecture + Interiors, plus Rockwell Group and Hernandez Design Associates.
The collective had envisioned a 3-Dimensional geometrical ceiling, which has, since the hotel’s opening, become an attraction unto itself. They worked with CertainTeed Architectural to create a one-of-a-kind curved, maze-like structure from the company’s Decoustics custom-engineered ceiling system line that sprawls above the vast lobby hallway space.
Where Design Meets Engineering
CertainTeed Architectural was challenged with engineering an entirely unique solution to bring a 3-D design to life — a first for its type — while delivering a structure that also offered acoustical performance to control the ambient noise of crowds passing by below. To achieve that, CertainTeed Architectural engineers used raw acoustical material from the Decoustics Claro® collection, which offers a wide range of customization options including shapes, sizes and colors, and reaches NRC rates of up to 0.90.
The design called for 448 oversized acoustical 3-D shapes to seemingly float in the air while holding the meticulous alignment and geometry of the curved ceiling shape, which spans over 3,400 sq ft, and is comprised of geometric modules made from 2 square and 2 rectangular shapes, each assembled from panels that are sloped and tapered. Each module measures 46” by 84” and weighs approximately 120 lbs. To minimize weight, each panel was made with special hollow-core construction, and varying thicknesses of material were used to achieve the overall voluminous appearance and 3-D effect.
A steel frame suspension was also custom-engineered to keep the shape of each module, carry the weight, and yet maintain virtually invisibility to attain the floating ceiling effect. To complete this look, panels were embedded with special extrusions for attaching to the suspension system.
The finished lobby ceiling is a spectacular geometric sculpture that offers guests a stunning visual — shapes creating a repetitive pattern that mirrors itself on both sides of the arc — all while keeping noise to a minimum.
The Beauty of the Orderly
On the casino floor, guests are treated to revelry in table games of all kinds. The maze of slots, blackjack, craps, and roulette offers game-seekers a veritable playground of chance.
To help lend organization to the carnival of blinking lights, spinning reels, and flitttering playing cards, the design team resorted to a clever solution on the surface that can be seen from nearly anywhere on the casino floor: the ceiling.
The casino ceiling features a unique installation in which a series of Tavola™ Prime aluminum beams by CertainTeed Architectural offers wayfinding that helps guide visitors through the space.
Above the rows of slot machines, Tavola™ Prime aluminum baffles in a Chatham Oak wood-look film finish complete the look of the beams: The baffles visually connect the beams and with a linear aesthetic that follow the same curvature, providing a consistent look that frames the slots areas.
And thanks to a perforated aluminum construction with acoustical infill, Tavola Prime baffles add enhanced – and much-needed – acoustical performance in an area that is characteristically noisy.
From Inspiration to Realization
The design vision for both the lobby hallway and casino floor ceilings called for a ceiling problem solver that could push the boundaries of raw material, engineering, and acoustical performance. CertainTeed Architectural rose not only to the manufacturing demands, but also helped at every stage of the process, from conception to installation to realization of the architects’ vision.The CertainTeed Architectural team offered design consultation, technical expertise, and installation support — including a how-to video for custom installation —throughout the duration of the project to help see it through and bring the complex ceilings to life.
The results are a one-of-a-kind ceiling showpieces that impress in both aesthetics and function — and replicate the the architectural team’s original project renderings with precision.