Chad Oppenheim and Arthur Casas create shape-shifting hotel on Rio's Copacabana beach
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Chad Oppenheim and Arthur Casas create shape-shifting hotel on Rio's Copacabana beach

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Through simple yet powerful spatial manipulations, the hotel optimises its beneficial attributes while subverting its negative forces

Architects Chad Oppenheim and Arthur Casas have collaborated to create a dynamic hotel nestled between dilapidated 1950s apartment buildings on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.

The Emiliano Rio has a distinctive façade of sculptural weatherproof panels which can be opened and closed from the bedroom balconies, resulting in a constantly shifting elevation.

“Through these simple yet powerful spatial manipulations, the hotel optimises its beneficial attributes while subverting its negative forces,” explained the architects in a design statement.

The property has 90 rooms across 11 floors, with amenities including a gym, spa, sauna, restaurant and private lounge that open up to separate courtyards filled with tropical vegetation. A pool and sky deck top the building, providing panoramic views of the beach and the Rio skyline.

Casas has designed the interiors, which are inspired by the work of the Brazilian artist and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, designer of the Copacabana beach promenade.

Furniture from the late Sergio Rodrigues is integrated into the hotel, along with the work of contemporary designers such as Paola Lenti.

The work of Burle Marx previously inspired the design of the 436-bedroom Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, which opened in 2016. Created by interior designers Yabu Pushelberg with assistance from Brazilian design firm Anastassiadis Arquitetos, it features 17 vertical gardens and mosaic floors which evoke the work of the famed designer.

One of his landscapes also surrounds the nearby Gran Melia Nacional, Oscar Niemeyer’s landmark hotel that was re-opened last year after a long period of abandonment. e

Chad Oppenheim and his firm, Oppenheim Architecture, are known for their dramatic designs, including a Jenga-like clifftop house for Hollywood filmmaker Michael Bay and the Wadi Rum Desert Resort in Jordan, which will be carved out of the natural stone.

He previously told CLADglobal that architects need to create a greater ‘wow factor’ in design, arguing that creating striking and memorable forms is as important as making buildings functional.

“We have a unique ability to balance the poetry and the proficiency of buildings, the fantasy as well as the functionality,” he said. “I love this idea of taking your dreams and translating them into a built reality.”

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Architects Chad Oppenheim and Arthur Casas have collaborated to create a dynamic hotel nestled between dilapidated 1950s apartment buildings on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.
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