Casinos and integrated resort developments are among of the most iconic architectural buildings in the world. It’s easy to recognize this looking at the Las Vegas skyline or the seminal steel structure of Marina Bay Sands.
While the exteriors sometimes create iconic attractions, what lies inside is critical to creating memorable guest experiences. Emily Marshall appreciates this notion. As leader of the Interior Design Group at HBG Design, she’s an expert on the design nuances necessary to create environments that leave a lasting impression.
“Interior design for the hospitality and gaming industry is all about creating vibrant experiences for guests,” Marshall explains. “This has always intrigued me—the drama and excitement that physical spaces can impart, the thoughtfulness that’s put into how guests use and experience a space.”
The nuances of both the business goals and guest desires in gaming and hospitality originally attracted Marshall, and keeps her pushing forward. “There’s a psychological element to it, paired with the fantasy of escapism. That’s kept me challenged and passionate about my career.”
While Marshall could be a considered a design veteran with 14 years of experience, her interest in and experience with art and design began well before her professional career. The daughter of a prominent Memphis architect, she developed an eye for design at an early age. Professionally, she points to her first mentor as having the most impact on her career trajectory.
“The influence of my dad notwithstanding, my first mentor, Jacques Coetzee, taught me how to truly be a designer,” Marshall says. “He helped me understand the importance collaboration plays in the role of an interior designer, while also teaching me how to push the boundaries of design and to be bold in my expression of interior spaces.”
For young design professionals, Marshall has advice on ways to grow both professionally and personally. “Broaden your perspective. Travel! Go see as much of the world as you can. The challenges we face when designing very complex experiences have existed before, so it’s important to see how other designers dealt with them.
“Every project has issues, some more visible than others, so seeing details in real time is important,” she adds. “I believe in complete immersion into places whose cultures and traditions affect their visual connection to the built environment.”
For someone whose livelihood revolves around creating memorable experiences for others, Marshall says the projects have had just as much of an experiential impact on her. “Seeing these gaming and resort projects come to life has given me indescribable and unforgettable experiences of my own.”
This year, she looks forward to seeing three major projects come to fruition and open. “These large-scale projects have been years in the making,” she says. Be on the lookout for Marshall’s latest imprints on the gaming and hospitality industries.