The Good, the Bad and the Grand
Notes on Macau, the Venetian and the rhetoric of Grand

The Good, the Bad and the Grand
Notes on Macau, the Venetian and the rhetoric of Grand

Submission ID:


In 2001 the gambling monopoly ended in Macau. The local government allowed foreign capital investment and new gambling licenses were granted to several groups. To say Macau has changed on the following years is an understatement. Several new gaming and resort structures, few of them stunningly eye catching, few others resembling past architectures started pursuing a similar trend - the will to put in practice a rhetoric of Grand. Several casinos and resorts took it literally by incorporating the term Grand in their branding or re-branding. However this rhetoric has been extensively explored also by other means, through decorative and imagery elements. Not only this grammar is superficial, because internally the buildings do not resemble at all the original spatial arrangements, but also the detail and the reproduced imagery is very commonly inaccurate. Somehow very often they are not relevant accomplishments, but still there is a demand for them.
Venetian Macau opened in 2007 as a copy of Venetian Las Vegas, building-up an imagery based on Venetian Gothic and Renaissance monuments, including the Campanile, the Doge’s Palace, and the St. Mark’s Clock Tower. The compound includes a luxurious one-million-square-foot indoor mall modeled after the Grand Canal. Venetian Macau is Macau’s first megaresort, the world’s largest casino with 3,400 slot machines, 800 gaming tables, and the planet’s seventh largest building by floor area.
Like several other gaming and resort structures located at the Cotai Strip the Venetian is a relatively new space, without tradition or history. These are non-places with the brutality of gigantic places (Jorge Figueira, 2015). The abstract’s title is an allusion to what we identify as a rhetoric of Grand and its impact on Macau’s recent developments. Although in Macau is not only the Las Vegas layer that counts, these large scale buildings and its paraphernalia have a great impact on the urban territory and its social and cultural fields.

Corresponding Author

tiago saldanha quadros

Independent Researcher

Author #1:

tiago saldanha quadros

Independent Researcher

Author #2:

Author #3:

Author #4:

Preferred Track

1. Mega-events and mega-projects: trends and demands

Second Preferred Track

9. The Syndrome of Grand Projects: contamination processes between North-South, West-East, Global-Local

Subscribe for updates



Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies

Avenida das Forças Armadas | Edifício ISCTE

Sala D316 1649-026 Lisbon

  • YouTube
  • Facebook