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Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects to open Concept to Completion exhibition at LDF 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Zaha Hadid Architects to open Concept to Completion exhibition at LDF 2019

Following our closer look at The Morpheus, Zaha Hadid Architects’ is giving visitors to London Design Festival 2019 an exclusive look at some of its projects on the boards and about to be unveiled…

During London Design Festival 2019, Zaha Hadid Gallery in London will present ‘Concept to Competition’, an exhibition that will showcase architecture projects by Zaha Hadid Architects set to open in 2020.

The exhibition, which celebrates and embraces the holistic journey of a live architecture project, will feature Bee’ah HQ in the United Arab Emirates, King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station in Saudi Arabia, and One Thousand Museum in the United States.  The projects will be presented through the stages of concept, design, detail and construction, highlighting how the design intentions for a building evolve and develop as a part of the design process.

Zaha Hadid Gallery is offering two architect-guided tours of ‘Concept to Completion’ on Wednesday, September 18 at 2pm and Thursday, September 19 at 5 pm.

The Zaha Hadid Gallery showcases the latest in architecture, interiors, furniture, and product design through curated exhibitions, and provides insight into the process, and ethos of the architecture practice, and design studio that was founded by Zaha Hadid more than 40 years ago.

Main image credit: King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station. ©Picture Property of RDA – All Rights Reserved

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

Render of rooftop pool of boutique hotel

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils plans for boutique hotel in Malta’s Mercury Tower

800 450 Hamish Kilburn

The hotel plans from Zaha Hadid Architects follow a recent 10 per cent boom in tourism in Malta…

Malta’s location at the midpoint of the Mediterranean has made the island a centre of trade and tourism. Welcoming almost 2.5 million international tourists last year with the number of visitors growing by almost 10 per cent annually, Malta’s hospitality industry employs 30 per cent of the country’s workforce and is anticipated to grow to 40 per cent of the island’s employment over the coming decade.

Located on Malta’s east coast, Paceville has developed over the past 50 years as the island’s tourist and entertainment centre, accommodating new projects that address this continued growth.

“Derelict for more than twenty years, the 9,405 sq.m. site includes the remaining façades of the old Mercury House that date from 1903.”

Established as a cluster of holiday homes in the early 20th Century and developed into a major tourist hub from the 1960’s, Paceville is at the heart of St Julian’s in Malta where many of the island’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos and marina are located, together with international hotels including the Hilton, Le Meridien, InterContinental and Westin.

The renovation and redevelopment of Mercury House, led by Zaha Hadid Architects, integrates residential apartments and boutique hotel within Malta’s most dynamic urban environment. Creating new public spaces and amenities for the island’s residents and visitors, the design responds to Paceville’s key urban challenges by investing in its civic realm and increasing its limited housing supply.

Derelict for more than twenty years, the 9,405 sq.m. site includes the remaining façades of the old Mercury House that date from 1903. Two underground vaults created during the Cold War are also within the site’s boundary.

Establishing shot of the iconic building

Working with Malta’s leading conservation architect, these heritage structures will be renovated as integral parts of the new development; restoring the old Mercury House façades and reinstating its remaining historic interiors as gathering spaces and entrance for the apartments and hotel.

Restoring the facades of the old Mercury House to their original height enables this heritage structure to be read as a whole. The new development lands behind these renovated façades, defining the original Mercury House as the focus of a new public piazza.

Including water features and fountains for children to play, as well as seating areas to relax, the new piazza will be the centre of its community by day, and one of Malta’s primary gathering places by night to suit the island’s al fresco lifestyle.

With the refurbished Mercury House at its base, the 24,500 sq.m. renovation and redevelopment incorporates civic amenities including cafes and shops surrounding the large piazza together with a new café pavilion of soft curves and a transparency that accentuates the solidity of the old Mercury House.

The 31-storey tower of residential apartments and hotel is aligned at street level to integrate with Paceville’s existing urban fabric and to reduce its footprint, maximizing civic space within the new piazza.

Conceived as two volumes stacked vertically, the tower incorporates a realignment that expresses the different functional programmes within.

The lower nine-storey volume houses apartments while the higher 19-storey volume is rotated to orientate guest rooms of the new hotel towards the Mediterranean, providing optimal views of Malta’s renowned azure sea.

Re-aligning the tower’s higher floors reduces solar gain and instils a sense of dynamism within its silhouette that changes when viewed from different directions around Paceville.

The transitioning floors (levels 10, 11 and 12) accommodate the tower’s realignment and house the dramatic public spaces of the hotel’s reception lobby as well as an outdoor pool with views to the sea.

The insulated façade, combined with limited glazing in areas of significant direct sunlight, is designed to provide shading and increase the tower’s overall thermal performance. The tower’s design also incorporates the results of local pedestrian comfort and wind climate assessments.

Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.

Image credit: All renders by VA

Luxury Bay Suite

London-based interior designer unveils ‘suite dreams’ in Malta

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

Malta continues to be a hotel design hot spot as London-based designer unveils 29 luxury suites in Malta’s The Westin Dragonara Resort

With the arrival of a Hard Rock Hotel slated to open in 2020 and Zaha Hadid Architects winning planning permission to build the 31-storey Murcury House, Malta in the Mediterranean is fast becoming a hotel design hub. Ahead of these grand plans becoming a reality, the most recent hotel renovation is that of the suites of a hotel that first opened its doors in the late ’90s.

Conceptualised by London-based interior designer, Lynne Hunt, the 29 Luxury Bay Suites offer a light and airy design that promotes relaxation, renewal and spectacular views. Taking inspiration from the extraordinary location and the hotel’s passion for wellbeing, all design details champion the natural surroundings, featuring soft hues of Maltese limestone and the turquoise tones of the Mediterranean Sea.

Working with Westin and Marriott, Huny embraced the design ethos of a Westin resort with a biophilia approach to its interiors and design reference. “Our inspiration is the limestone rock of Malta along with the beautiful surrounding Mediterranean Sea,” Hunt explained.

The centrepiece of the Master Bedroom is the award-winning Westin Heavenly® Bed, tilted at an angle to face the window. Guests are invited to relax under the soft mood lighting and recharge with the soundtrack of the soothing ocean that drifts from the connecting terrace.

Image credit: The Westin Dragonara Resort

Overlooking the bedroom and sea beyond is the spacious and elegant ensuite, built with a free-standing bath and walk-in rainfall shower. As well as featuring an open-plan ensuite bathroom, an additional guest bathroom features in the suite, complete with a range of premium White Tea Heavenly Bath toiletries.

“The refurbished Luxury Bay Suites are an extraordinary addition to The Westin Dragonara Resort. The hotel overlooks the tranquil Mediterranean and these new suites really make the most of this unique vista,” said Michael Camilleri Kamsky, General Manager of The Westin Dragonara Resort. “Every element of the suites has been considered to help guests relax and re-energise, from the spacious design, to the unique food and beverage offering. We look forward to welcoming guests to experience the Luxury Bay Suites first hand.”

Other images of the Luxury Bay suites: 

The open plan living and dining space comes complete with a functional double sofa bed, seating area and kitchenette. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead out onto a private and secluded terrace, perfect for al fresco socialising and relaxing. Three of the suites offer two bedrooms, accommodating larger families or accompanying guests.

First opened in 1997, The Westin Dragonara Resort has been at the forefront of Maltese hospitality. Its latest renovation to the 29 suites reference Maltese culture in a soft, sublte and approprate way, mainly through clever colour schemes and Mediterranean-inspired art.

 

Top 5 stories of the week: New swanky brand, a futuristic opening in China and a floating hotel

799 389 Hamish Kilburn

It’s been a busy week for the industry, with plenty of news in the air to digest. This week Hotel Designs has seen the launch of a new upscale hotel brand, new openings from around the world and we are one step closer to the first hotel brand launching on water.

Here are the top five hotel stories of the week, as selected by editor Hamish Kilburn:

1. IHG launches voco, a new upscale hotel brand

coffee and voco menu

At an exclusive press event in London’s Saatchi Gallery, our editor learnt all about the new hotel brand, voco. We broke this story to the world on Tuesday morning, and have since watched it soar the charts to become this week’s most read article. Read all about how the brand is planning on launching to be ‘reliably different’…

2. New London hotel restaurant: Hans’ Bar & Grill unveiled at 11 Cadogan Gardens 

Hans’ Bar & Grill, a new west London neighbourhood restaurant in Chelsea’s Pavilion Road, has opened. The new striking and contemporary interiors scheme, created by leading hospitality and F&B designers Goddard Littlefair, includes an exciting new extended café-bar space and a new restaurant, which plays on the concept of indoor-outdoor dining…

3. Seven minutes with Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International

We last spoke to Fiona Thompson in 2014, when she and her team had just completed the quintessentially British Sterling Suite and Club Lounge at The Langham London. Having just agreed to be our headline speaker at Meet Up North on July 18, we wanted to know how the industry is shaping up from a leader’s point of view…

4. Zaha Hadid Architects unveils new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort in Macau

Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

From one design visionary design house to another, award-winning architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects designed the futuristic Morpheus as a simple extrusion of the existing abandoned foundations…

5. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection opens reservations to the public 

Rendering of the yacht

Claiming to be the first luxury hotel group to take its service and ambiance of its resorts to the sea, The Ritz-Carlton, L.L.C. has announced the opening of reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. The yacht will also feature two 158 square-meter lavish Owner’s suites, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden.

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The lobby of the Morpheus

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort in Macau

800 608 Hamish Kilburn

Award-winning architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Morpheus as a simple extrusion of the existing abandoned foundations…

Asia’s most popular entertainment destination, Macau welcomed more than 32 million tourists in 2017, with visitor numbers increasing every year. Located in Cotai, Macau, City of Dreams, the Morpheus Hotel – designed by architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – is set to become one of Macau‘s most deluxe addresses.

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

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.

Linked at ground level with the surrounding three-storey podium of the City of Dreams resort, the Morpheus houses 770 guestrooms, 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.

The design resolves the hotel’s many complex programmes within a single cohesive envelope. 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.

Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

ZHA designed the Morpheus as a simple 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.

This extrusion generated a monolithic block making best use its development envelope that is restricted to a 160m height by local planning codes. This block was then ‘carved’ with voids.

The underlying diagram of the hotel’s design is a pair of towers connected at ground and roof levels. The central atrium in-between these towers runs the height of the hotel and is traversed by external voids that connect the north and south facades. These voids create the urban window that links the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city.

Three horizontal vortices generate the voids through the building and define the hotel’s dramatic internal public spaces; creating unique corner suites with spectacular views of both the atrium and the city. This arrangement maximises the number of hotel rooms with external views and guarantees an equal room distribution on either side of the building.

Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

In-between the free-form voids that traverse the atrium, 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.

As one of the world’s leading hotels, the Morpheus’ interior spaces necessitated a high degree of adaptability to accommodate the many varying requirements of its guest amenities. The building’s exoskeleton optimizes the interiors by creating spaces that are 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.

Morpheus draws on a ZHA’s 40 years of research into the integration of interior and exterior, civic and private, solid and void, Cartesian and Einsteinian. Space is woven within structure to tie disparate programmes together and constantly make connections.

Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director explained: “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form. The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.

“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.

“The expertise of all members of the Morpheus team has created new possibilities for architecture,” continued Muscettola. “The comprehensive parametric model combined all of the hotel’s aesthetic, structural and fabrication requirements and will radically change how our built environment is planned and constructed.”

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.”