Dreams Become Reality
As the cornerstone of City of Dreams’ Phase 3 development, Morpheus is the first hotel brand to be wholly developed and created by Melco, and is intended as an ultra-luxurious addition to the property, featuring 770 five-star guest rooms, suites and villas, including three ultra-luxurious pool villas and six duplex villas, as well as unique F&B collaborations with renowned chef Alain Ducasse and French fashion icon Maison Pierre Hermé Paris.
The design of Morpheus is inspired by jade artefacts, and the building is the world’s first free-form exoskeleton-bound high-rise architectural composition, incorporating a number of architectural and technological breakthroughs. A series of voids within the building implies an abstract figure of eight, displaying a unique aesthetic and creating exciting internal spaces.
While regular visitors to Cotai have seen the fascinating architecture of the building take form over the past years from the outside, the media tour was the first chance to take a look at it from the inside. And present to guide us around on the day was Associate Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, Viviana Muscetolla.
“The building really had two phases, inside and out, and this inside building was a whole other project,” notes Viviana when we meet her in the lobby. “It was really important that the outside and the inside didn’t look disconnected from each other. When we started to look at the interior, we wanted to have the sense of triangulation from the outside, transformed into the interior space. So there are a lot of small elements like the reception desk, where they use the same geometry as the façade. Even the patterns on the floor are a repetition of what you see outside.”
The 35m-tall interior façade lobby is a spectacular array of shapes, patterns and forms, that guide the eyes directly up into the lower void of the building. Twelve panoramic lifts within the atrium provide guests with incredible views of both the atrium and the outside space as they travel between the voids.
“All of these angles and triangulation could be overwhelming without adding a tone or colour. We spent days and hours choosing the right colours to use in the interior. The lobby has a warm colour, in between silver and gold, depending on the light shining through from the top, giving an overall appearance of something softer,” explains Viviana.
“Right now, I’m very happy about being in this space. It really shows that our designs are not just meant to be fantastic from the outside, they are special for people who experience the building on the inside,” she adds.
As our tour continued, we soon found ourselves entering the open-air roof top area, home to an expansive pool with stunning views of Cotai and beyond. The pool was designed by California and Hong Kong-based firm Remedios Studio, headed by Peter Remedios, who was also responsible for design work at Altira Hotel, another of the Melco’s properties in the city.
“In Altira, we created a surface tension pool that went right to the edge of the glass and I know that Lawrence Ho, [Chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment] really loved it, so I wanted to do a bigger one here. A lot of people said it couldn’t be done because of the loading and all kinds of stuff, but here it is,” says Peter proudly.
“The design of the pool is all about celebrating and experiencing the architecture of the building, the pursuit of pleasure and the art of self-indulgence. It’s an immersion into a lifestyle that only a few can enjoy,” adds the president of the design company.
Peter, who was born in Hong Kong to Macanese parents, explains that the final design of the pool was actually three times bigger than originally envisaged by the architects, and given its location on the roof, was no easy feat.
“The whole pool had to be raised up 45cm to create the final effect. We went through months of negotiations with the architects and structural people and engineers,” he recalls. “The name Morpheus is very appropriate because we really dreamed big and pushed the envelope. But Lawrence Ho was very easy to convince because he is so daring and he loves new ideas and different things.”
Remedios Studio also designed all the rooms, suites and villas in Morpheus, as well as the VIP entrance lobbies.
“We took our cues from Dame Zaha Hadid’s architecture, which is very iconic. One of the things that she famously said is that “there are 360 angles, so why choose 90 degrees?”So almost nothing in our design is 90 degrees,” explains the designer. “We played with the angles, so the interior design speaks of the architecture but is not exactly the same as the architecture, but it feels cohesive, like it came from the same hand.”
And as a finishing touch, his company also created a complete range of bespoke furniture for all the rooms.
“The finish and design of the room feels very upscale, like being in a luxury super yacht.”