As one of the youngest creative directors to lead a team in winning the Red Dot Award, Ruth Chao spent the night at Morpheus, City of Dreams, Macau, and offers her thoughts on the art scene and her road to success
What are some of your greatest achievements to date?
I am most proud of founding my own design firm, Ruth Chao Studio. Although it has been less than a month since the launch, the road to completion has taken 10 years to get here. It certainly wasn't always easy but I'm happy that I kept the promise to myself and made this dream come true.
How do you define “success”?
Success is about achieving happiness. Life only gives meaning if you are truly happy with yourself. I’m a big believer that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
What are some of the key highlights of Morpheus for you?
I love the pure innovation of Dame Zaha Hadid's architectural design. Morpheus is the world's first free-form exoskeleton steel structure meaning that the building stands without any internal pillars or columns. The design is inspired by the Chinese jade carving tradition but yet it is amazing how it looks like a futuristic structure taken straight from a Spielberg sci-fi film.
As a creative director, which areas of Morpheus are the best for taking photos?
Looking up at the sky from Atrium and amongst the mysterious swirls of Yí, the Chinese restaurant found on the 21st-floor Sky Bridge, are definitely great perspectives. Standing in front of the Pierre Hermé Lounge also makes for a cool backdrop with the angular open cage design reminiscent of the building’s striking exterior.
See also: 10 Things You Need To Know About Morpheus Macau
Look out for some quirky interactive installations for fun selfies, like the Pastry Go Round and Cadillac Pool by Malherbe Paris. You'll find them and other amusing art-pieces while strolling through Art of the City.
What are your thoughts on the art collection at Morpheus?
There’s a wonderfully eclectic array of art on offer throughout Morpheus. Simply by walking through the hotel, you find dynamic and interesting artifacts at every turn, sympathetically placed to blend into each area or give the maximum impact they deserve.
For example, having always loved Mathieu Lehanneur's Ocean Memories Collection—especially the low marble tables and benches—it was great to see its reinterpretation in the "9 Seas" piece hung on the wall en route to the Morpheus lobby.
See also: City Of Dreams Macau Artwork
Which pieces particularly stand out for you?
The two-storey-tall "Good Intentions" sculpture by Kaws is stunning, standing proud against Zaha Hadid's biomorphic backdrop in Art on 23. And of course, Charles Petillon's first permanent installation, 200 LITOFAIRHOUR, creating an indoor floating cloud effect from fabric bubbles hanging six meters above the heads of passers-by below—it surely makes one dream.
“The two-storey-tall "Good Intentions" sculpture by Kaws is stunning, standing proud against Zaha Hadid's biomorphic backdrop in Art on 23.”
Where do you hope to see Hong Kong’s art and design scene in the next 5 years?
With the rise of Tai Kwun, the highly anticipated opening of M+ and the West Kowloon Cultural District, there are more colours now than ever in Hong Kong's cultural landscape. In Chief Executive Carrie Lam's policy address last year, $1b HKD was injected to support Hong Kong's creative industries via the CreateSmart Initiative, it will be interesting to see how it impacts in the years to come.
Tell us about one of your proudest creations to date
My proudest creation is my team at ‘Ruth Chao Studio’. Though small and intimate, we've collaborated with global clients from ten industries across twelve countries and collected fifteen design awards along the way. I love working with, and deeply care for, everyone in our team.
Working hard whilst having a good time doing so is absolutely priceless. Our chemistry and a shared sense of humour somehow make even the toughest challenges fun.
What in your opinion is the difference between good design and exceptional design?
For me, exceptional designs are intelligent and esoteric. It is about finding innovation, changing pre-conceptions and breaking boundaries. Without a doubt, Morpheus has established itself as a beacon of grand design, not only on the Macau skyline but also as in international architecture.
Choosing to design the building entirely without internal support is a challenge on its own, but to then also incorporate such a striking exterior is ground-breaking.
Morpheus at City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau, +853 8868 8888, cityofdreamsmacau.com
Photography: Moses Ng | Styling: Spencer Leung | Hair and Makeup: Becky Kwan at Wendy's Workshop | Shot at: Morpheus, City Of Dreams, Macau