The 'jewellery box' prepares to open

Nick Myall
Friday 16 Dec 2016

Based on stacked jewellery boxes the MGM COTAI is rapidly emerging as an architectural icon

As MGM COTAI’s exterior façade nears completion, MGM has revealed the vision behind the design by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) and some of the spectacular engineering feats involved in the development ahead of the resort’s opening in 2017.

In 2011, MGM set out with a vision to develop an integrated resort in Cotai, China, that would support the development of Macau as an international tourism destination. The initial plan for MGM COTAI was to build an architecturally compelling pair of towers inspired by the local culture. Beginning with the recognisable three-tiered form of the MGM MACAU tower, the stacked boxes of each tower have been shuffled and cantilevered to create a single modern sculptural form. Through the creative use of immaculate Chinese decorative imagery for the façade expression, the abstract composition effortlessly brings to life a grand and vibrant representation of Chinese jewellery boxes, MGM’s recognisable gold tones and extraordinary architecture in Macau.

A team of more than 350 architects, designers and consultants came together to create an integrated resort like no other in the world, MGM COTAI is expected to open in the second quarter of 2017.

Mr. Jim Murren, Chairperson and Executive Director of MGM China Holdings Limited says, “MGM COTAI is already emerging as an architectural icon and the talented designers who have helped us create it are making a great contribution to Macau. Our Company is synonymous with entertainment and the resort’s diverse offerings and design elements, like treasured jewels in a jewellery box, complement each other yet follow a central concept of class, quality, and excitement, creating extraordinary experiences for our guests.”

Mr. Ken Rosevear, President of MGM Resorts Development LLC and Non-Executive Director of MGM China Holdings Limited, adds, "Desiring a unique and iconic design for MGM COTAI, we initiated a competition between internationally recognized architectural firms with experience in designing extraordinary resort projects. KPF was appointed when they proposed a design that not only resonated with our existing MGM property, but took it to a new level of excitement and visual excellence thereby maintaining the tradition of unique iconic structures that MGM is known for.”

 “From the outset, we wanted to design a structure that would really stand out on the skyline,” says Mr. John Bushell, Design Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), the New York and London based Design Architect firm appointed for this project and recognized for the excellence and innovation of its buildings around the world, including award-winning Shanghai World Financial Center and Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre. “We wanted to build something of the highest architectural quality that is also a place for people to have fun! By utilizing a composition of similar elements and openings in-between the building, we created a mountain landscape-like structure that allows a variety of interpretations. The outside is striking both in daylight and at night, with lots of dramatic spatial experiences within. The two different hotels and an exclusive Mansion all form part of a single distinctive unified composition.”

MGM COTAI offers exceptional architectural experience at night. On the exterior, a subtle, and unique light design shines with gold, bronze and silver undertones which the brand is known for in its architecture in Macau. To achieve this effect, MGM developed an integrated lighting system across all four elevation of the towers where roughly 60,000 LED fixtures have been placed to wash the surface of the projecting feature fins, creating a beautiful glimmer.

Mr. Hunter Clayton, Executive Vice President of MGM Resorts Development LLC says, “The architectural complexity is highlighted by the outward look and feel of the building in a profound but graceful manner. Our General Contractor, China State Construction has done a beautiful job in bringing the design to life. From any given angle, the intricate layering, colours, shapes and sizes of the tri-coloured stacked jewellery boxes seep with sophistication.”

MGM COTAI’s epicenter of entertainment lies in the dynamic world of the Spectacle, an innovative, multi-dimensional sensory experience designed to thrill and excite visitors as they shop and stroll in the heart of the complex, which connects MGM COTAI’s main lobby directly to shops and restaurants.

At more than four million sq ft, MGM COTAI will offer over approximately 1,400 rooms with diverse offerings ranging from Asia’s first dynamic theatre, the Spectacle, as well as innovative culinary, retail, and family-friendly offerings for international visitors and locals alike. Set to be the new landmark for Cotai, MGM COTAI embodies the collective efforts of architecture and design industry experts, collaborating to offer infinite layers of creativity across every square meter of the building. MGM COTAI is the largest property and the first private sector project ever to achieve the China Green Building (Macau) Design Label Certification.

Nick Myall

News editor

Key Facts:

Commercial Hotels Offices Residential

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team