Zaha Hadid's final project opens for business

One of Zaha Hadid's final projects, a luxury-hotel in Macau, has finally opened its doors and it's certainly an eyecatching piece. It was one of the last projects that Pritzker-Prize-winning architect, worked on before her death in 2016.

The sculptural, jaw-dropping,40-story hotelbears all the hallmarks of the late architects’ signature style, with futuristic curves and a skeletal steel structure. It alsoboasts the world’s first high-rise exoskeleton — a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its cawl-like binding punctuated by three giant holes that puncture the twisting geometric facade.

Morpheus Hotel is the latest addition to Macau’s City of Dreams, an integrated resort that includes a casino, two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels on the Cotai Strip.

The striking150,000-square-metre structure cost £84 million to build and serves as the new flagship hotel for the resort, featuring770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas, civic spaces, meeting and events facilities, gaming rooms, a spa, rooftop pool, lobby atrium and three world-class restaurants from chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé.


Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese tradition of jade carving, the facade of the building has been carved with voids, thus creating a net-like exterior which lets natural light pour through.

Sleek and sinuous, and with design defined by flowing curves,the world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton has astructural geometric grid that negates the need for supporting internal walls or columns that would otherwise clutter the hotel's interior.

The result is uninterrupted internal space. The building's clever structure alsomaximizes the number of hotel rooms with views,guaranteeing an equal room distribution on either side of the building, with corner suites offering views of boththe internal atrium and the city beyond.

Morpheus’ building is formed of two circulation cores that connect at the base via a podium, separate, then merge again at rooftop level.

Theexoskeleton essentially wraps around a pair of towers and a stunning, cathedral-like central atrium that soars to a height of 35 meters, while its ground level is connected to the City of Dreams resort’s surrounding three-story podium.

The atrium runs the height of the hotel between these two towers, with the hotel's restaurant lounges and bars located on bridges running through this central void.

Breathtaking views continue in the twelve glass elevators,giving guests panoramic views of the hotel's sculptural interiors and Macau spreading out below.

The interiors are just as lavish as you'd expect, with three pool villas and six duplex villas (by invitation only),as well as a semi-enclosed rooftop swimming pool.

In the rooms, just about everything you might want to open or close or turn off or on is controlled by iPad. Tap away on the screen and the curtains will swish closed and block out the floor-to-ceiling panoramic view.

Meanwhile the Spa sets a new benchmark for hedonism in Macau with a Snow Garden installation featuring real snow.

The renowned Iraqi-British Hadid was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture andwas already widely recognised in China for her design for the Guangzhou Opera House and a mega mall in Beijing.

Hadid has certainly delivered on this latest project, afitting epitaph for its late designer.


Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.