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At mor­pheus ho­tel in ma­cau, the world’s first ex­oskele­ton high- rise, he­do­nism is the op­er­a­tive word, as Chit L Li­jauco finds out

Philippine Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Zaha Hadid’s Mor­pheus Ho­tel, the world’s first free-form ex­oskele­ton high-rise struc­ture, stands tall in Ma­cau’s City of Dreams

As the Greek god Mor­pheus forms and shapes dreams, one of Hadid’s last cre­ations morphs and cre­ates a feel­ing of f lu­id­ity

The land­scape of casino cities is pre­dictable: neon lights and theme de­signs done to death. An­cient Egypt, present-day Venice, ex­otic Africa, the ex­tinct city of Baby­lon—name it, they’ve done it. And so, in Ma­cau where a sim­i­lar land­scape has de­vel­oped, a design marvel like Mor­pheus sim­ply jars the senses.

Cre­ated by the late ar­chi­tec­ture icon, Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), and named af­ter the Greek god of dreams, the lat­est ad­di­tion to Melco’s City of Dreams en­ter­tain­ment com­plex sticks out like an awe­some thumb. It has, in fact, al­ready claimed a place in his­tory as the world’s first-ever free-form ex­oskele­ton high-rise ar­chi­tec­tural struc­ture. As the Greek god Mor­pheus forms and shapes dreams, one of Hadid’s last cre­ations morphs and cre­ates a feel­ing of flu­id­ity.

“One of the things that Zaha said was that, ‘There are 360 an­gles, de­grees; why choose 90?’” shares the glob­ally-renowned de­signer Peter Reme­dios, who crafted and cu­rated the in­te­rior of the ho­tel. “So, you see her build­ing is quite fluid, quite or­ganic, and this posed a chal­lenge for some of our in­te­rior spa­ces. There are some rooms that are so or­ganic you can­not draw them in CADD, but only in 3-D pro­gramme. It’s that com­pli­cated.”

Reme­dios, how­ever, al­ways wel­comes an op­por­tu­nity to work with what he calls “star­chi­tects” like Hadid. “It al­ways tends to be more chal­leng­ing when we have that level of ar­chi­tec­ture. And the re­sults are al­ways bet­ter.”

Mor­pheus, the ho­tel, is a dream of the Hong Kong bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man Lawrence Ho, chair­man and CEO of Melco Re­sorts & En­ter­tain­ment, that was put on hold for two years when the busi­ness cli­mate in Ma­cau soured some 15 years ago. “Lawrence wanted to do some­thing very modern then, and now, he fi­nally gets his dream. He took a leap of faith as Mor­pheus is so dif­fer­ent from any­thing on the strip. Will it be suc­cess­ful? I be­lieve it will be a huge suc­cess be­cause Ma­cau is ready for modern, for great design,” Reme­dios re­lates.

For ev­ery project that he does, Reme­dios likes to weave a story. At Mor­pheus, his over­rid­ing no­tion is he­do­nism. “Ba­si­cally, it means rewarding your­self by in­dulging in plea­sur­able pur­suits,” he ex­plains. Guided by this, Reme­dios, who also de­signed and man­u­fac­tured the be­spoke fur­ni­ture of the lux­ury ho­tel, made sure each of the 772 guest rooms, suites, and vil­las de­liv­ered on the prom­ise.

The most ba­sic room, for in­stance, is a smart room where the lights, tele­vi­sion, sounds, and cur­tains are con­trolled by a mere touch on the screen. Some have au­to­matic doors lead­ing to the bath­room with its one-of-a-kind bath­tub. “And the mini bar in Mor­pheus is re­ally a maxi bar,” Reme­dios adds.

Orig­i­nally from Ma­cau of Por­tuguese de­scent but now based in Cal­i­for­nia, Reme­dios be­lieves that “design re­flects the way we live.” Thus said, he points out some de­tails in the rooms of Mor­pheus that fol­low his prin­ci­ple, like the ab­sence of desks. “I don’t do desks any­more,” he starts to rat­tle off. “We don’t use them any­more; we work off our lap­tops cross-legged on the sofa. The chair is lower than nor­mal, at lounge-chair height, be­cause you are do­ing many things at the same time: check­ing your e-mails, watching tele­vi­sion, tak­ing a bite of that won­ton noo­dle soup. The sofa is de­signed in such a way that you can sit on it in what­ever way you want as well as shift the pil­lows around and lay on it like a chaise. At the back of the sofa is a space for your drink—no need for a cof­fee ta­ble.”

Then sums it all up with his design prin­ci­ple: “My de­signs are life­style driven, re­think­ing how we live, what we would like to do, and re­spond­ing with fur­ni­ture that does what we like rather than us having to ad­just to it.”

Mor­pheus has a to­tal of 772 guest rooms, suites, and vil­las. It has an ex­ec­u­tive lounge and a sky pool si­t­u­ated 130 me­tres above ground. Din­ing op­tions are noth­ing short of Miche­lin-star sta­tus, what with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Alain Du­casse. This chef who holds 21 Miche­lin stars of­fers two restau­rants de­signed by Jouin Manku: Alain Du­casse at Mor­pheus and Voy­ages, the lat­ter in­spired by his trav­els. Pierre Hermé, the king of modern patis­serie, has a sleek lounge serv­ing his finest cre­ations. Yi is the home of ex­cep­tional re­gional Chi­nese cui­sine served omakase- style in breath­tak­ing in­te­ri­ors by Zaha Hadid Ar­chi­tects.

Reme­dios be­lieves that Ma­cau is moving away from be­ing a gam­bling venue to an en­ter­tain­ment des­ti­na­tion and that Mor­pheus is right in the fore­front of an­swer­ing this need. “This no­tion of a he­do­nis­tic life­style, of rewarding one­self, is very ap­pro­pri­ate,” he states. The unique­ness of its design, its max­i­mum level of lux­ury, and the feel­ing of flu­id­ity ex­ter­nally as well as in­ter­nally makes Mor­pheus the go-to ho­tel for some­one look­ing for a dif­fer­ent experience.

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