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Forever dusk
by Andrei Rublev  Wednesday, September 1st.

If New York is "the city that never sleeps" Las Vegas is "the strip that never sleeps." The free brochure presented on the back of every cab driver seat is called "24/7." The casino owner has one goal in mind: to make you play more. This obviously lead the casinos to have the gamblers forget about time. Not letting any daylight penetrate the gambling realm is an old trick that has proven to work. It has been so effective that casinos have created padded tunnels that allow players to flow effortlessly, and without any other option, I guess you could say "suck" players, from one casino to the next. The only adds that can be found in those tunnels are for restaurant. Even players eat.

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The brand new hotel/casino Paris which opens tonight introduces an interesting twist to this technique. Instead of having the gamblers dwell in eternal night, the ceiling of the main gambling arena of Paris is painted and backlit from the top of the many facades used as wall decor in ways that convey a late afternoon ambience in a typical parisian neighbourhood. This wonderful trick was already applied to a shopping area inside The Venician (another hotel/casino about a quarter mile down the strip from Paris) and at Ceasar's Palace. The Venician's sky effect is better -- and actually extremely unsettling -- because used more sparingly.

More than just theme hotels, an old tradition of Las Vegas, there is a strong tendancy to the magical-places-of-the-world hotels. In this respect the outside of Paris is very well executed. The collage of Paris landmark buildings such as the Louvre, the Tour Eiffel, the Opera and the Arc de Triomphe is playful and inviting. Unlike the architectural collage of the New York hotel the proportions of the original buildings that make the facade of the Paris are kept unchanged. If this tendancy keeps growing, Las Vegas will not only end-up with no time but will have lost its space too.

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