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.