Casino refit wins design award

Simpson-King Design owner Annie Simpson-King (left) and Grand Casino chief executive Dominique...
Simpson-King Design owner Annie Simpson-King (left) and Grand Casino chief executive Dominique Dowding in the casino’s redesigned bar. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON.
A Dunedin interior designer has picked up an award for her refit of Dunedin’s Grand Casino restaurant and bar.

Earlier this year, the casino changed its name from the Dunedin Casino to Grand Casino and was refurbished for the first time since it opened 22 years ago.

Simpson-King Design owner Annie Simpson-King was approached to do the refit of the casino’s restaurant, bar and atrium areas last year to give it a "modern and elegant" feel.

Last week it was announced the refit had won the Heritage Colour Maestro Award at the Resene Total Colour Awards.

The annual event is usually held during New Zealand Fashion Week but was held online this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Mrs Simpson-King has been a self-employed interior designer in Dunedin for about 10 years and has worked multiple major refurbishments in Dunedin, such as John Wickliffe House and the University of Otago’s clocktower and St David Lecture Theatre.

Winning the award for the casino’s refit was "very exciting", Mrs Simpson-King said.

Inspired by the history of the building, she did extensive research into its architecture and the era it was built.

"I really wanted to make the Grand Casino grand," Mrs Simpson-King said.

She said colour was the key to her design, making it "light but dramatic enough for a casino".

"It had to be grand, it had to be elegant and also impressive."

Previously the area’s floor was a dark colour with a light ceiling, but Mrs Simpson-King decided to flip that.

The ceiling was now metallic and gold with the floor and furniture a lighter colour.

Mrs Simpson-King had six months to do the refit and had to get it done before the casino reopened with its new name in April this year.

Being able to do a refit like the casino’s was a "dream job" for any designer.

"It is one of those jobs you have to think deep and pull on every resource to make it that special place," Mrs Simpson-King said.

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