Recently I took a trip with my husband, Cody, to Las Vegas, Nevada. I’d never have chosen to visit Vegas on my own, but Cody was required to go for a convention for work, and when his company offered to bring me along, how could I refuse? If nothing else, it would mean I wouldn’t have to spend a week apart from my hubby. So, I prepared myself for the tacky sites, the smell of cigarettes covered by air freshener, and some truly unfamiliar people watching. In lots of ways, my preconceived notions of Vegas were correct – it was certainly overwhelming – but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Vegas wasn’t completely limited to my depiction.
Cody and I ventured beyond the strip, into what was called “the up-and-coming cultural center of Las Vegas” for a tour at The Neon Museum (recommended by Design Sponge’s Vegas City Guide). I was finally back in my element – this museum was a designer’s paradise! Our cab dropped us off with our jaws to the floor. The first thing we saw was the stunning Googie style architecture of the main office and gift shop. The gorgeous building used to be the La Concha Motel lobby, design by architect Paul Revere Williams in the 1960s, and behind it was a treasure trove of typography in neon sign form. We went through the doors into the modern space, and were immediately (and enthusiastically) greeted by our tour guide. While I’m sure each guide is very knowledgeable, I have to say that the woman who lead our tour was truly EXCELLENT! We whirled in and out of narrow channels, and explored the maze-like set up of the exhibit as she taught us about the history of some of her favorite signs. Each turn revealed something new, and each sign was just as beautiful as the last. I can’t even begin to describe the fear in my heart when I realized that my phone battery was low, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to capture the beauty before me (spoiler alert: it died JUST AFTER I snapped my last shot – phew!). More than 150 historic signs ranging from the 1930s up to present day fill what they call “The Boneyard” that makes up this fantastic museum, and currently houses my favorite sign designed by Betty Willis: the Moulin Rouge (it’s truly some of the most exquisite typography I’ve ever seen)! Here’s to the addition to my personal bank of inspiration, and to that of Theory House, as I’m able to share these treasured images! I hope you enjoy a peek into my favorite night in Las Vegas!