The Philippine Star
ASIA’S NEWEST LANDMARK RISES IN MACAU
In a place where replicating the world’s famous landmarks is the name of the game, a breathtaking, mysterious and intriguing “sculpture” rises — Morpheus. Inspired by jade artifacts, Morpheus is the first exoskeleton building in the world. What this means is that there is no pillar inside. The outside sculpture is what holds the building together. Just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, here, you can actually see the structure outside even when you’re inside the building.
The designer? None other than the late “starchitect” Zaha Hadid who once said: “There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”
And so Morpheus is quite fluid, quite organic and quite a challenge to its interior design team — headed by LA-based Peter Re- medios, principal and managing director of Remedios Studios Inc. — which designed the VIP lobby, 80 percent of the spa, the villas and all the rooms.
“Whenever I do a project, I always like to tell a story. One of our recent projects was the Ritz Carlton in Kyoto. And Kyoto is all about stirring one’s curiosity,” shared Remedios during the opening of Morpheus. “For Macau, it’s all about fake attractions, fake expe- riences. Every theme that you could come up with has already been done. But there’s one more theme left — great design.”
With Hadid’s architecture and the challenges of it, Remedios came up with unusual solutions.
“It’s more work, it’s much harder to do, but the results are much more exciting and rewarding,” he enthused.
Macau has, indeed, come of age and Morpheus is Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited’s tribute to that.
A DESIGN MARVEL
The very last of the projects of Pritzker Prize-winning Iraqi-British architect, Morpheus is definitely a new monument to her life’s work.
The twin-tower building, which soars 39 stories from the ground, is supported from the outside by a gleaming aluminum skeleton and encased in a steel and glass mesh structure embracing its reinforced concrete core. The towers are joined by two sky bridges where guests can dine and take in the full breadth of the architectural masterpiece.
The US$1.1 billion structure, located in the City of Dreams Macau, houses 772 guest rooms, suites, villas, an executive lounge, a sky pool and a full-service spa with its own unique “Spa Butler” concept where hotel guests are escorted from their hotel rooms to their treatments.
From the hotel lobby, guests have direct access to the ground-level retail strip and the main gaming area.
The hotel staff — in their stylish uniforms by Hong Kong-based designer Barney Cheng — blends in perfectly with the design-centric surroundings.
The 12 panoramic glass-clad lifts provide guests magnificent views of the atrium and the captivating voids on their way to their suites. It’s quite a mesmerizing ride.
Each room is equipped with a master in-room control tablet from which guests have everything at their fingertips — the lights, the blinds, the curtains, the airconditioning, the music, and in-room entertainment.
The furniture pieces are all custom-made, as well as the oversized bathtub. Instead of the usual office desk, Remedios put a multi-purpose desk where guests can have a decent meal, tinker with their gadgets, even gamble.
“It’s all about rethinking how we live, what we like to do and responding with smart furniture pieces,” he said.
Remedios designed the pool villa like he was working on a super yacht.
“I used high-polished stainless steel and a combination of woods. I didn’t use too much loose furniture to make the rooms look larger,” explained Remedios who has collaborated with well-known luxury hotel developers such as the Aman Group, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons & St. Regis, Shangri-La and Hyatt International.
The sleek and plush rooms echo the building’s groundbreaking architecture to give guests a unique and ultraluxurious experience.
According to the hotel and resort design expert, Macau is moving away from being a gambling venue.
“So this whole notion of hedonistic lifestyle — of rewarding and indulging yourself — is very appropriate. And that’s what we’re trying to afford Morpheus’ guests.”
More than the spectacular design and architecture, what makes Morpheus shine is the constellation of Michelin stars under its roof!
The only chef in history to hold 21 Michelins throughout his career, French chef Alain Ducasse has set up not one but two restaurants at Morpheus — Alain Ducasse at Morpheus and Voyages by Alain Ducasse — occupying an entire floor of the hotel.
Designed by the Jouin-Manku design team, the Alain Ducasse at Morpheus serves up Ducasse’s contemporary French haute cuisine with dishes for which Ducasse is famous, while Voyages by Alain Ducasse is based on a brand new concept — with South American and Asian cuisines as the focus — inspired by the 6-year-old chef’s gastronomic journey over the past 30 years. On a sweet note, Pierre Herme, the man
Vogue called “The Picasso of Pastry,” set up a sleek pastry nook — the Pierre Herme Lounge — at the atrium lobby of Morpheus that serves light snacks, coffee and tea, cocktails, his delicious plated desserts (don’t leave the lounge without trying the Ispahan), macarons, chocolate croissants and chocolates!
Our welcome treats included Pierre Herme x Morpheus chocolates, cake and macarons; we were spoiled with a daily supply of chocolates at bedtime. And come breakfast, a spread of Pierre Herme treats — Pierre Herme pancakes and chocolate croissants — awaited us at the Club Lounge.
At the Sky Bridge, you’ll find Yi, the only fine-dining Chinese restaurant in Asia to present a blend of regional Chinese cuisines served omakase-style. At Yi, you won’t find a freezer/chiller. The menu is created by the chef every day based on what ingredients are readily available.
A DREAM COME TRUE
The introduction of Morpheus at City of Dreams in Macau is a dream fulfilled for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho, who, like his company, “never rests, never follows convention and never takes the easy path.”
“Since we opened our doors in 2009, we have never settled. We have constantly anticipated, looking into the future, pushing ourselves, our partners and our guests,” Ho enthused. “And Morpheus is a magnificent example of what Melco stands for. We don’t just serve people what they want. We amaze them with awesome new experiences that they won’t get anywhere else in the world.”
According to Ho, he has always encouraged a culture of collaboration at Melco and “Morpheus is a perfect example of how it produces extraordinary results.”
“The best partners are the ones that push you to be better every time. And at Morpheus, there are so many of those—from Zaha Hadid to Peter Remedios, Alain Ducasse and Pierre Herme,” he said. “Every aspect of what we’ve designed and delivered has been pushed to the max.”
And with Morpheus, Melco Resorts and Entertainment has built a landmark for Macau and an icon for Asia.
“Morpheus is a thank you to China and a love letter to Macau,” Ho enthused.
‘Morpheus is a magnificent example of what Melco stands for. We don’t just serve people what they want. We amaze them with awesome new experiences that they won’t get anywhere else in the world,’ says Lawrence Ho.