ne of the last projects designed by Zaha Hadid (completed by her London architecture practice), Morpheus Hotel Macau is one of the most complex buildings by the most forward-thinking architects of the modern era. This exclusive luxury hotel in Macau, the first as well as the last European colony in Asia (it rejoined China 20 years ago), is located in the Cotai Strip, known for its many recently built casinos and resorts. Often referred to as “Asia’s answer to Las Vegas” or “City of Dreams”, this tiny territory is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and it receives over thirty million tourists every year.
On the limit of feasibility (most of the time), Zaha Hadid designed a 40-storey cuboid on the foundations of an unfinished apartment tower, approximately 160 metres high, supported by a spectacular multi-layer shell: an external load-bearing skeleton (exoskeleton) and a glass and aluminium membrane behind this futuristic steel grid: an authentic masterpiece of engineering and technological innovation.
In the centre of the building, a perforated structure with organically shaped “holes” has radically altered the appearance of this extraordinarily wrapped, gigantic glass box. Here, the articulated routes of bridges and gangways connect the two parts of the construction and give life to an extraordinary interior world, formed by entirely unexpected perspectives and views.
The 70 thousand cubic meters of the building complex include a spectacular atrium crossed by suspended bridges, a five-star superior hotel with 730 rooms and bathrooms fitted out by Duravit, exclusive detached villas, panoramic starred restaurants, a casino, a shopping centre and on the fortieth floor, an infinity pool with breathtaking views.
And so Morpheus, the god of dreams in Greek mythology that lends his name to the hotel, takes shape, or rather, a thousand and one different forms, in a place that is a dream microcosm, a planet on the planet and that, for a few days at least, you might be able to experience firsthand.
Where: Cotai, Macau, China
Photos: Courtesy Duravit