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Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva ELVIS” theater transports you back in time to when the luxury and opulence of a traditional Vegas showroom was magically romanticized with evening gowns, a maître d’, and champagne. Red-velvet seating for more than 2,500 and the appearance of a mile-high stage proscenium amplify the evening’s excitement.

R o c k
Created by Cleo Design, Cirque du soleil’s new “viva elvIs” showroom at the CityCenter’s arIa resort & Casino is an homage to old-school vegas glamour
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s h o w r o o m

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Lisa Ryan

Ryan Reason of Studio West


Cleo Design 5935 Edmond St., Suite 115 Las Vegas, NV 89118 702 873 7070

When it came to designing the Las Vegas CityCenter’s new Elvis showroom, Cleo Design opted for a little less kitsch, a little more luxury. The space was set to house the newest Cirque du Soleil show—an exquisite tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself—and needed to pay homage to Elvis Presley’s flamboyant flair, while also remaining subtle and sophisticated. “It had to have an old Vegas showroom vibe,” says Ken Kulas, co-owner of Cleo Design. “The trick was to figure out how we could do this without using any of the very cliché things you would expect in a showroom. We needed something more on the esoteric side, but it still had to have the warmth, excitement, and energy of what the old Elvis showroom looked like when he was performing at The International.” To realize this vision, Kulas and Ann Fleming, the other co-owner of Cleo Design, worked very closely with the MGM Group, who owns the Aria Resort and Casino at CityCenter, as well as Cirque du Soleil’s executive staff in Montreal. “The MGM Group had a lot of secure thoughts in what we would do with how the operation of the building would work. On the other hand, Cirque du Soleil had much more unique demands as it related to the aesthetics,” Kulas explains. Kulas grew up in Las Vegas, and has firsthand experience of Elvis performing at The International’s theater during its heyday. “I had a very different impression of what Elvis was supposed to be as opposed to what the Canadians thought Elvis represented,” he says. “It was great to hear their interpretation; we came up with an interesting combination of themes together.”
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With the appearance of being encrusted in pave diamonds like the watch Elvis wore, the façade of the sales counters adds glitz and showmanship to the “Viva ELVIS” retail area. In addition, custom door handles leading into the retail area feature Elvis’s signature “TCB” (“taking care of business”) slogan.

kEn kULAs

CityCenter Casino “Elvis” Showroom Las Vegas, NV

Completed in 2010

It had to have an old Vegas showroom vibe ... without using any of the very cliché things you would expect in a showroom.

70,000 sq. ft. 2,500 seats


Milliken Couristan

Themeing Solutions Inc. Seven Continents



UltraGlas Wall Resources Architectural Glass Art, Inc.
tExtUrED DECOrAtIvE mIrrOr

Ameritile Inc. Atlas Concorde Walker Zanger

Joel Berman Glass Studios

Orion Chandelier

Forms + Surfaces

Calvin Fabrics (materials) Coast Drapery Service (fabrication and installation)
thEAtEr sEAtInG

ELA Lighting

Advanced Technology Inc.
PEnDAnt LIGht FIxtUrEs

Irwin Seating Justin David Textiles (upholstery)

Translite Sonoma

Source One Wallcoverings (silver vinyl) GL Veneer (rosewood veneer)

Venicio Glass

Completed in December 2010, the final result of their collaboration is a 70,000 squarefoot space that seats 2,500 and is reminiscent of the great Vegas showrooms of yore, with intimate booths of tufted velvet, along with typical theatre settings. Beautiful panels of rosewood surround the theater, each with interior scallops filled with lighting and drapery. “The rosewood has a musical-instrument feel to it; each scallop acts as if it is the hole in the guitar, the face of the instrument,” Kulas says. The showroom also features direct Elvis influences, from small details found at Graceland to interpretation of his clothing. Kulas explains, “Elvis’s suits had elaborate lapels, with designs that included details, like flames. We took some of those images and put them into the carpet patterns.” Kulas and his team also sought inspiration from Presley’s extensive jewelry collection. For instance, the theater’s retail space features a checkout counter whose face is covered in patterned facets of mirror, which gave the impression of a pave diamond watch he once owned, in addition to custom door handles with Elvis’s signature “TCB” (i.e., “taking care of business”) slogan. All in all, Kulas says, the design team chose to avoid the cliché Elvis touches in order to achieve a space that represents old-school Vegas glamour. “We wanted to encapsulate that feeling of romanticizing evening gowns, having a maitre d’ seat you, and being served champagne in your booth,” Kulas says. “It’s about luxury and opulence, what people thought back in the day when they would get dressed up to see a Vegas show.”
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