Playground for the rich

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2011, 12:00am


The man-made artificial Phoenix Island, built on a reef floating in Sanya Bay, has much in common with Dubai's larger Palm Island, which has been labelled the eighth wonder of the world.

Home to a luxury cruise liner port, yacht club, sports and recreational centres, shopping complexes and theme parks, it looks set to be a playground for the honeyed and moneyed seeking a tropical escape.

In keeping with the nation's continuing accumulation of personal wealth, a personal yacht wharf will house up to 300 berths and will make the bay rival the world's best boating venues. Three terminals are expected to be completed soon, which will make the site Asia's largest cruise terminal complex, capable of accommodating several cruise ships at the same time.

Designed by architectural firm MAD, the Phoenix Island luxury residence acts as a centrepiece for the city. The series of six buildings are shaped like giant undulating sails in the characteristic rolling, towering fluid forms for which world-renowned Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong has become famous for.

The buildings, that are designed to reflect the fluid movement of the surrounding water and blend into the rising white tropical clouds, are not unlike Dubai's iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.

MAD, the groundbreaking architectural firm whose buildings have received numerous awards and can be found throughout China and in major international cities, is perhaps best known for the curving forms of Toronto's Absolute Towers.

To be connected to Sanya city by a 400-metre bridge, the Phoenix Island development is projected to be completed by 2014.

The island's symbol, a 50-metre-high phoenix sculpture, represents something of Hainan and, indeed, China's progress. By targeting the nation's uber-wealthy at the southern tropical gateway, Phoenix Island signifies a whole new level of exclusive luxury on the mainland.