Phoenix Island: the Oriental Dubai
All eyes have been on Dubai as the hub for development and progress during the past decade, with designers pushing architecture to its limits and beyond. All this is changing, however, as the world turns its attention southwards to China’s tropical island of Hainan and its awe-inspiring and ambitious development of the man-made Phoenix Island.
An artificial or man-made island is an island or archipelago that hasn’t been constructed by natural means. It is created by expanding islets and reefs that already exist, or by fusing a group of islets into a bigger land mass. As Palm Jumeirah has proved, man-made islands bring huge tourism prospects to each country that invests in their construction.
The creation of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island, an artificial island built in the shape of an enormous palm tree so large it can be seen easily in satellite images, left the world watching on in awe. Considered the most ambitious and sensational project on earth, the island has often been labelled the ‘eighth wonder of the modern world’. China’s construction of Phoenix Island, however, is fast becoming a fierce competitor for this title.
The MAD architects’ Phoenix Island is a private, luxury island located in the Bay of Sanyuyan, off the coast of China’s tropical Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Spanning an area of nearly 400,000 square km, Phoenix Island has developed the concept of Jumeirah Palm to create the first artificial island designed specifically as a luxury destination.
The man-made island is connected to Sanya City by a 400m bridge, and surrounded by a harbour that has been commended as the best harbour in China, with one of the top ten best marinas in the world for large cruise liners. Upon its completion, the Phoenix Island International Cruise Terminal will become Asia’s largest homeport for luxury cruise liners, with passenger traffic volume levels already reaching 400,000 since it was put into service in November 2006.
Representing the future of Sanya’s progress and development as a top international resort city, this luxurious treasure trove and architectural phenomenon will feature six high-rise buildings consisting of 7-Star hotels and 5-Star boutique apartments. By its expected completion in 2014 the island will also boast world-class shopping, an amusement park, a large sports centre, an international yachting club and a business club with private villas for meetings and banquets.
Visitors to the island will surely find themselves awestruck as they feast their eyes upon the MAD designers’ fluid forms that reach from sea to sky. The island’s centrepiece, a fifty-meter tall fire phoenix sculpture, has a remarkable presence, towering in the sky as a symbol of fortune and happiness in the Chinese culture, but also of China’s progress. Natural minimalism has been perfectly achieved through incomparable creativity of design and architectural skill. The buildings, that aim to represent the transition from ocean to clouds with curved, wave-like features, have received a surge of international attention with their unique blending of both tribal and futuristic styles.
Embracing the new era, exploring new spaces in contemporary art and architecture and transforming modern lifestyles, MAD’s integration of multimedia formats and architectural design demonstrates a unique approach towards architecture in both China and around the world. By treating their project as a fluid and dynamic representation of contemporary life in China, Phoenix Island has become a natural and coherent reflection of the urban environment rather than an isolated series of structures.
China first brought the island to the forefront of the world’s attention during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, where Phoenix Island served as the starting point for the Olympic Torch Relay on May 4. Zeng Xianyun, Chairman of Sanya Phoenix Island Investment ran the first leg from the island to across the bridge to Sanya city. Over the next few years, Zeng’s company plans to invest more than 5 billion Yuan (700 million US$) into the island.
Phoenix Island also hosted this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations in Hainan. Over 1,000 guests enjoyed a visual feast of red, white, orange and pink fireworks that lit up the island against a musical soundtrack, adding to the grandeur of the island itself.
But the ever-ambitious Phoenix Island manages to go above and beyond mere fireworks displays. Multi-million dollar light emitting diode (LED) video elements have been installed by Daktronics Inc. of Brookings, South Dakota, in conjunction with the Sanya Phoenix Island Development of China. The owner of the island has envisioned covering the outside of every building on Phoenix Island with more than 33,000 linear metres of these ProPixel LED sticks.
The island that symbolizes the aspirations of the man-made world is also in tune with its surrounding environment. It has been proposed that the 2 billon Yuan (US$300 million) project will help ease erosion at the shore at the same time as promoting tourism, therefore accelerating local economic development, said Lin Zhite, head of the Provincial Marine and Fishery Bureau.
Chinese investors have already begun buying property on the private island, which boasts 5-star apartments, penthouses and condos that have been fully furnished with handcrafted furniture and designs by the acclaimed Christopher Guy, the famed designer of the Trump in New York City, the Wynn Resorts, and movies including the Devil Wears Prada. Each apartment building is unique in shape, with high ceilings, balconies and panoramic ocean views framed by full size windows that have been designed to let in the maximum amount of tropical sunlight as possible.
This masterpiece of design is one place on earth that embodies modern and luxurious living while still celebrating the essence of contemporary art. And what’s more, it is conveniently located off the coast of a tropical island in the middle of the emerald green South China Sea. As tourism numbers continue to increase to China’s tropical island province, Hainan, Phoenix Island is set to enjoy its fair share of attention from the wealthy of the world.
For a virtual tour of Phoenix Island, see our Youtube Channel
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