Each year, in between meetings and deal-making, ICSC members frequent the Las Vegas' casinos and hotels, enjoying Vegas' legendary nightlife. Of course, even during leisure time there is much talk of construction materials and discussion of the latest design trends. Many of the attendees don't know that one of the most interesting design/construction trends going today is probably right under their feet.

That's right. If you have visited Las Vegas recently, you have seen the work of Vegas-based flooring contractor Arcon. Such landmarks as the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace, Aladdin's new Desert Passage, and the Venetian all bear the mark of Arcon's handiwork. The contractor works on a variety of other projects as well, and has designed floors for everyone from FAO Schwartz to St. John's Greek Orthodox Church and the National Bowling Center.

Arcon's latest project takes the company outside of its Vegas home base to the far-flung locale of Japan. Tokyo is the home of the 475,000 sq. ft. Venus Fort, a new development by Tokyo-based Mori Building and Masa Fumimiyamoto. The center opened last August, and is the first true American-style mall in Tokyo.

When Terry Dougal of Dougal Designs was commissioned to work on Venus Fort, he chose Arcon floors to make his designs a reality. The mall design featured one section that was modeled after 18th century Paris, and another with the look of Rome.

Dougal had worked with Arcon for ten years on similar projects, including the Forum Shops, and knew the company could create a believable street scene. "To replicate a cobblestone or a flagstone with concrete requires a lot of artistry," says Dougal. "When we started doing this ten years ago, it was very innovative."

Over the years Arcon has pioneered and perfected a process that allows architectural concrete to look and feel like exotic materials. By applying texture to the concrete, or overlaying it with other materials, Arcon can custom-create unique floors that look far more luxurious than their cost would indicate. Arcon's floors have been used in place of tile, marble, and terrazzo, to name just a few.

The developers were leery of the cost at first, and several Japanese companies were given a chance to replicate Arcon's process at a lower price. However, they were not able to match the quality that Dougal had come to know. When Dougal brought Arcon in on the project, the developers were pleased with the results and felt it was worth the extra cost.

Arcon says it designs floors "with the soul of an artist and the mind of a business professional." Dougal elaborates and says "there are other people who do what they do, but it is the artistic touch that makes the difference." By combining durable, utilitarian materials with the latest in stylish design motifs, Arcon floors can add to the esthetic appeal of a mall while providing functionality and cost-effectiveness at the same time.

For more information about Arcon, check out their website at www.arcon-intl.com