Following the huge success of Tao New York, which helped give rise to the Asian chic trend in restaurant design, Schoos Design, in cooperation with architects Klai Juba, was asked to create a similar environment for Las Vegas but on a much larger scale.  Thomas saw this as an opportunity to bring substance and authenticity to a city that is often too plastic and unconnected to reality.  The result is dramatic yet grounded, with an exotic appeal that has caused it to be the most successful restaurant/nightclub in the country.

Though modern, the neon-lit entrance clearly references the red gates used to mark the entrances of Buddhist and Shinto temples, even with dark wood latice-work above.  The reinterpretation might be considered an abstract or cubist rendition of Asian elements.  For a more authentic touch, a genuine piece of ancient sculpture is visible through the front entrance, enticing one to enter.

The space is dominated by an original hand-sculpted monumental Buddha, reminiscent of those one might see in Asian temples.  The walls are covered with real brick or hand-trowelled concrete to bring natural textures.  The large scrolls hanging overhead include hand-drawn calligraphy, not stencils, for even more authenticity.

For those familiar, the tunnel-like entrance evokes the Buddha caves of Laos, complete with reclining Buddha.  For the unfamiliar, the entrance is still exotic and mysterious.  Bathtubs filled with rose petals add a playful, seductive twist.

Just inside the cave-like entrance is the bar of 250 monks, similar to the Laotian Cave of 1,000 Buddhas.  Regardless of whether one knows the reference, the image is still striking.

It may take a moment to recognize that this large piece of wall art is actually a Zen garden, with its raked rock patterns and boulder accents, turned on its side.

Antique Asian opium pipes form an exotic art wall when placed in colorful illuminated boxes. 

Warm, earthy textures, like rough-hewn wood tables, aged brick and hand-trowelled walls provide an appropriate backdrop for the antique treasures that are exhibited throughout, as well as these modern photographs celebrating average Asian characters. 

The large scale of the environment provides ample space for the exhibition of large pieces of art, such as the statuary seen here.  The fact that most of the artwork is genuine and historic gives a feeling of quality and permanence that is unusual in Las Vegas. 

Be sure to visit our Portfolio section for a complete tour of Tao Las Vegas!