Clyde T. Cobb, president, Specialty Concrete Products (SCP) and StampMaster, Columbia, S.C., says he began working abroad 15 years ago when his company opened. His philosophy about cultures coming together is from experience. “I started out by saying this is how we do it in America, but soon found I was all by myself,” he says. “I began to listen to what others said and assist them to do their work better. I learned to honor and to use what they have. They might have larger rock or not enough cream in the mix design. If I started to dictate the mix design, in addition to creating ill will, I bore the responsibility for the work.” At World of Concrete 2005, Cobb met Billy Law, president, Xiaping, Hong Kong, who was researching decorative concrete materials for the Venetian Macau Casino and knew of SCP products.
The casino, built by the Las Vegas Sands Corp., Las Vegas, is built on 1 square mile of land. With Phase 1 completed, the project will continue across a bridge from Macau to Cotai. The goal is to create a family oriented atmosphere for kids and for adults—complete with luxury hotels and a gambling center bigger than Las Vegas. Xiaping spearheaded the project and Law placed samples onsite in a mock-up warehouse. Approval took Cobb four trips, a number of color samples, and many meetings with the project's two architectural design firms.
The plaza, located at the fourth level of the casino, covers 200,000 square feet of the 10.5 million-square-foot project. Its 4-inch-thick concrete deck is placed over a 12-inch-thick concrete floor. The design includes SCP color hardener in a complex pattern of antique white bands filled with Venetian sand buff color that was then imprinted. StampMaster designed the stamping tools used on the project with computer software and made them so they create a flat low texture similar to paving stones found in Venice. Xiaping as well as Vaford, Hong Kong, installed the work. Rob Avey, owner, Decorative Concrete and Supplies, Ann Arbor, Mich., was the liaison between SCP and the concrete contractors, and also offered training. “More attention was paid to the details than might be considered usually,” says Cobb. “Carpenters formed the work. There was no tolerance for cracks. If the concrete cracked it was installed again.” Control joints planned in accord with the design were sawcut. The slab was viewed as a topping without additional reinforcement.
Preparation and detail work differs in China because of its abundant labor force. Laborers cleaned the base slab before concrete placement using cotton rags and water instead of a pressure washer. At the job's completion, a detail crew of five laborers cleaned the slab, made any surface corrections, and sealed the work with a solvent-based acrylic sealer immediately before the hotel's opening.