THE GOLDEN ATRIUM

WYNN RESORTS, 2007

The Golden Atrium forms the public centerpiece of the expanded Wynn Macau casino.  It is inspired by Steve Wynn’s dream of inventing ‘transformable spaces’ – spaces in which the architecture creates the entertainment.  The atrium is an indoor piazza in which, several times each day, the architectural elements transform the room with a spectacular multi-media performance of kinetic sculpture, video, light and music. 

The decoration in the atrium combines astrological symbols from east and west with universal symbols of good fortune; the Chinese zodiac and western zodiacs, a golden tree and a glittering crystal chandelier.  It also features some remarkable technical achievements: a 24m diameter sculpted gold cupola, a 24m diameter video screen ceiling, an 18m diameter crystal chandelier and a 12m tall golden tree that rises up from beneath the floor.

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The Chinese zodiac cupola opens like an iris to reveal the LED video screen above it.  The video screen presents dramatic, swirling, abstract patterns created especially for the show by New York based video artists ‘Imaginary Forces’. 

The video screen in turn splits in two to reveal the 18m crystal chandelier that descends into the room.  The chandelier is assembled from over 18,000 crystals.  Each crystal contains a white LED light that adds to the sparkle and beauty of the effect.

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The Chinese zodiac cupola was created by British sculptor Jacqueline Pyle. Well known for her theatrical sculptures for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and the Covent Garden Opera House, this is her first work in China. She has decorated the twelve segments of the vault with dynamic sculptures of the twelve animals from the Chinese zodiac. 

Each segment explores the character of the animal, from the bold, fearless tiger to the cheeky rats that escape from their segment to run amongst the other animals.

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In the center of the room, a shallow copper dome covers the opening to the cave that holds the golden tree. The 12m diameter dome is decorated with an engraving of the western zodiac in the style of 18th century astronomical charts. The engraving was created by the British artist and calligrapher Kate Hepburn.

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The copper dome is the focus of the room.  It opens with a dramatic sweep of scimitar shaped blades to reveal the deep cave that houses the golden tree.  The tree has over 70,000 individual golden leaves.  It was designed and built by Michael Curry, the American artist who created the puppet characters for ‘The Lion King’ and the kinetic sculptures for the ‘Lake of Dreams’ at Wynn Las Vegas.

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