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THE CHARM OF THE DRAGON

by Adrian Ho on Feb 21, 2014 in Architecture
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JW Marriott debuts in Vietnam with style and grace as its latest building pays tribute to a majestic creature of the country’s traditional culture and mythology

The dragon has always been an icon in Vietnamese culture, representing power and prosperity. Its mythical presence still remains today, despite the modernisation movements and contemporary developments in the country. For instance, present Vietnamese literature still fondly calls Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, as Thang Long, an old name which was first introduced in the Lỳ dynasty (circa 1010) — and means ‘soaring dragon’ in Vietnamese.

So when New York based architect Carlos Zapata was commissioned to design Vietnam’s first-ever JW Marriott in the country’s capital, he decided to push the interpretation of this majestic creature to a new level. Combining inspiration from the Vietnam coastline with a dragon motif, Zapata — who became one of the most acclaimed architects in Vietnam after constructing the dazzling Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City — went on with the idea of building a “reverse skyscraper”, creating a contemporary dragon with glistening glass ‘scales’ and an imperial cantilevered body.

Along with the adjacent National Convention Center, JW Marriott Hanoi will serve as the core of the new central business district in West Hanoi, catering to the flourishing markets of regional and global meetings and incentives. “Hanoi has now earned itself a coveted spot as a must-visit destination for travellers,” notes Mitzi Gaskins, vice-president and global brand manager of JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts, which recently opened two feature properties in Bengaluru and New Delhi.

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