Macau has officially opened the doors to Morpheus, a sculptural, 40-story luxury hotel that also boasts the “world’s first” high-rise exoskeleton—a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its iconic appearance. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the sleek and sinuous structure serves as the new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort. The $1.1-billion architectural icon is one of the last projects that architect Zaha Hadid worked on before her untimely death.

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morpheus side view

lobby with curvaceous design

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. Taking inspiration from China’s rich traditions of jade carving, the architects crafted Morpheus with flowing curves that define the exterior and interior design. “Conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through its centre to create an urban window connecting the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city and generating the sculptural forms that define the hotel’s public spaces,” wrote Zaha Hadid Architects in a statement.

looking up at atrium

lobby design

The Morpheus’ exoskeleton wraps around a pair of towers and a 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. A series of sky bridges traverse the atrium, while twelve glass elevators offer spectacular views of the hotel’s interior and exterior. The hotel houses 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas as well as civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, game rooms, three restaurants, a spa and rooftop pool, and back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities.

interior sculpture

seating area

Related: Zaha Hadid Unveils Plans for “City of Dreams” Hotel Tower in Macau

The use of an exoskeleton allowed for the creation of expansive interiors uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,” adds Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director. “The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.”

+ Zaha Hadid Architects

Images by Virgile Simon Bertrand