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TIME Magazine lists Morpheus Hotel as one of the World’s Greatest Places

TIME’s World’s Greatest Places 2018 selects the most ground-breaking destinations based on key factors, including quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence.

Informed by the fluid forms within China’s rich tradition of jade carving, the Morpheus’ design combines dramatic public spaces and generous guest rooms with innovative engineering and formal cohesion.

The design resolves the hotel’s many complex programmes within a single cohesive envelope housing 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas, and includes civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, gaming rooms, lobby atrium, restaurants, spa and rooftop pool, as well as extensive back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities.

ZHA was commissioned to build the hotel in 2012. At that time, foundations were already in place of a condominium tower that did not progress. ZHA designed the Morpheus as a vertical extrusion of the existing abandoned foundations; using this rectangular footprint to define a 40-storey building of two internal vertical circulation cores connected at podium and roof levels where the many guest amenities were required.

The underlying diagram of the hotel’s design is a pair of towers connected at ground and roof levels by a central atrium. Three horizontal vortices generate the voids through the atrium and define the hotel’s dramatic internal public spaces.

In-between these voids, a series of bridges create unique spaces for the hotel’s restaurants, bars and guest lounges by renowned chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé. The atrium’s twelve glass elevators provide guests with remarkable views of the hotel’s interior and exterior as they travel between the voids of the building.

Morpheus’ interior spaces necessitated a high degree of adaptability to accommodate the many varying requirements of its guest amenities. Working with Buro Happold Engineering, ZHA designed the building’s exoskeleton to optimise the interiors uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. The world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton, its rich pattern of structural members at lower levels progresses upwards to a less dense grid of lighter members at its summit.

Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director explains, “Morpheus combines structural integrity and sculptural form. Macau’s buildings have previously referenced architecture styles from around the world. Morpheus has evolved from its unique environment and site conditions as a new architecture expressly of this city.”

Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts said, “From the very beginning, we shared ZHA’s vision and determination to push boundaries. Morpheus offers a journey of the imagination. From the curved exterior to the dramatic interior spaces, it pleases the eye and excites the senses: a contemporary masterpiece to be enjoyed by many generations to come.”

TIME’s World’s Greatest Places 2018

Photograph by Virgile Simon Bertrand