The Beijing water cube has joined the pyramids, Eiffel tower, Colosseum and Venice as world icons transformed into casinos.
The water cube’s doppelganger, Casino Oceanus, opens today in Macau at Jai Alai. While there is no mention of the architectural resemblance on developer SJM’s press release, it’s hard not to do a double take (pictured above).
Designed by Las Vegas casino architect Paul Steelman, the casino has more than 32,000sqm of gaming space over three floors. The cool blues and warm reds are meant “to be redolent of the sea and corals”, while the ETFE membrane gives the impression the building is “enveloped in multi coloured bubbles”, SJM said.
However, Chris Bosse, one of the key designers of the water cube, was not fazed by the news. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he told Architecture & Design.
The National Aquatic Centre (pictured below) for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing was designed and built by a consortium made up of PTW Architects, Arup, CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation), and CCDI (China Construction Design International) of Shanghai after an international design competition.
While the Chinese partners initiated the square because it is symbolic of ‘earth’ to Chinese culture, the Sydney-based team came up with the idea of covering the ‘cube’ with bubbles, symbolising water.
The water cube won an award at the 2004 Venice Biennale for the most accomplished work under the ‘Atmosphere’ section.