Meet: Roger P. Thomas:
Design czar’s goal is original and timeless
Name: Roger P. Thomas
Company: Wynn Design and Development, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts
Title: Executive vice president of design
Describe your job.
Wynn Design and Development is composed of a talented team of design, construction and purchasing professionals. I work in a very close and interactive relationship with Steve Wynn, DeRuyter Butler (our executive vice president of architecture) and the Wynn Design team to imagine, define and craft the aesthetic experience of Wynn Resorts.
What challenges do you face being executive vice president of design?
Making dreams come true involves many challenges — all good. Creating and realizing what has never been seen is an educational process.
We partner with craftsmen, builders and artisans who need specifics as far as vision, expectations and physical considerations. Succinct communication via drawings and specifications are crucial.
One of our great challenges is the maintenance of luxury. Luxury materials are not always highly available, and our interiors are subjected to ever increasing wear and tear. Keeping things fresh is a real priority.
What makes for good design?
Good design is both original and timeless. This means new and innovative but not trendy.
We create designs of drama, mystery, humor, romance, beauty and comfort to provide our guests with the most unique, elevated and memorable experience possible.
What’s new for Wynn Resorts?
We just finished the concepts for Wynn Palace Cotai, our most original, lavish and surprising interior to date. We are now bearing down on the documents to realize this dream project.
I also just launched two major accessory collections for home and hospitality for the Phillips Collection and Studio A/Global Views. And my second collection of micro mosaic fine jewelry for SICIS Jewels is currently becoming a reality.
What is the best business advice you have received, and whom did it come from?
“Design what you love and what inspires you for the highest, most sophisticated and most educated client. Stress originality, quality and personal vision.” — Steve Wynn
What challenges do you face doing business in Las Vegas?
Finding high-quality craftsmen is a great challenge. Most of what we do is of a quality above the Las Vegas market. My expectations for many crafts, including drapery, upholstery and furniture finishing, are informed by European standards in many cases not yet available in the local marketplace.
The other challenge is attracting and keeping world-class design talent, although that has improved with the enriched cultural climate created by the Smith Center and the downtown arts community.
What is the best part about living in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas is a “can do” town. It reminds me of Rome in the Baroque era when design carried the main burden for the economy of the city. They were attracting “Seekers of Faith”; we are designing for “Seekers of Fun”.
If you could change one thing about Las Vegas, what would it be?
The summer heat.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter and started “Tower — An Epic History of the Tower of London” by Nigel Jones.
What do you do after work?
Hopefully, catch a performance at the Smith Center.
I do most of what I like before work: meet my trainer, Mike Kubik, for an hour of challenging exercise, then attend a spiritual meeting with close friends.
After work, I research in my home library, watch a video and get to bed by 9 p.m.
I spend weekends in my Marin, Calif., home with my husband, Arthur Libera, entertaining friends, drawing and watching films.
Blackberry, iPhone or Android?
iPhone, iPad. All Apple, all the time.
Describe your management style.
Understand, inspire, teach, listen, listen, LISTEN.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living half the year in Europe. Drawing new designs. Watching the accomplishments of my daughter, Drew, with awe.
What is your dream job, outside of your current field?
I would like to be the curator of decorative arts at the Metropolitan or the Louvre.
Whom do you admire and why?
My dad, E. Parry Thomas. He realized his vision of Las Vegas through work, dedication to his principals and the mentoring of talent.
Also, Margaret Russell, editor in chief of “Architectural Digest.” She has reinvented the shelter magazine.
And Ellsworth Kelley, who has maintained his minimal vision into his 90s and has thereby influenced the art of his time indelibly.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Disorganized and cluttered environments and copies of original designs.
What is something that people might not know about you?
I’m a modernist and live in very contemporary homes. I am a trained ceramist and goldsmith. I cry at movies and watching some TV, too. I don’t know anything about Indonesian art.