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Zaha Hadid Architects’ Morpheus hotel opens in Macau

A striking exoskeleton makes Macau's newest hotel, the Morpheus by Zaha Hadid Architects, stand out in the city skyline.
A striking exoskeleton makes Macau's newest hotel, the Morpheus by Zaha Hadid Architects, stand out in the city skyline.

It takes a lot to stand out amid Macau’s garish architectural cornucopia, yet even before the Morpheus hotel opened on the 15 June, it was being touted as a distinctive landmark. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the 150,000-square-metre, 40-storey flagship hotel is the final chapter of Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s sprawling City of Dreams resort development, combining casino gaming, shopping and four other hotels located on the Cotai Strip.

The unveiling is a poignant reminder of the untimely death in 2016 of the Pritzker-Prize-winning architect, Dame Zaha Hadid. Morpheus is one of the last projects with which she was intimately involved and bears all the hallmarks of the late architects’ signature style, as do other recently completed projects, such as the Generali Tower in Milan.  

The unconventional monolithic structure features a freeform exoskeleton that rises from ground level, wrapping around a pair of towers and a cathedral-like central atrium to create a gargantuan block punctuated by three undulating voids that reflect the figure eight. ‘The carved out volumes allow you to experience the inner and outer faces of Morpheus as you journey through the building,’ explains the project architect Viviana Muscettola. ‘It’s quite fantastic how inside and outside talk to each other.’

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Inside, three futuristic sky bridges connect the main circulation cores while providing vertigo-inducing communal dining and lounge spaces. There are 780 hotel rooms and the upper seven floors house VIP gaming facilities, three pool villas and six duplex villas, as well as a semi-enclosed rooftop swimming pool. Interior design by California-based Peter Remedios takes inspiration from super-yachts with custom-design textiles and furnishings.

On the ground floor, an all-white Pierre Hermé Paris Lounge is partially enclosed in a geometric steel angular frame, while the 35-metre-high atrium lobby features a reception decorated with white marble shards and staff kitted out in couturier Barney Cheng-designed uniforms. Twelve elevators whisking guests upwards through the voids add a Bladerunner touch.

There are three restaurants: two by star French chef Alain Ducasse and Yi, a contemporary Chinese restaurant serving regional Chinese cuisines omakase-style. Meanwhile the Spa sets a new benchmark for hedonism in Macau with a Snow Garden installation featuring real snow. 

The structure is one of the last projects with which the late, great architect was intimately involved

The freeform exoskeleton wraps around a fairly monolithic structure 

Inside the building, three undulating voids reflect the figure eight

The project includes a visually stunning, cathedral-like central atrium

The complex features 780 hotel rooms, while the upper seven floors house VIP gaming facilities and further functions for the residents

Interiors include three pool villas and six duplex villas...

....as well as a semi-enclosed rooftop swimming pool 

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