Carriages of the Three Kings

Carriages of the Three Kings

Madrid, Spain - Build completed in 2016
Imagen Subliminal - Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero, Gabriel Tineo + Álvaros Lagos

Carriages of the Three Kings

elii [architecture office] as Architects

Carriages for TRH Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar

As the sun set on 5th January 2016, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar travelled the streets of Madrid on constellations of light, to be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of children.

The carriages of the Three Kings are built as a kaleidoscope of lights and mirrors, a dynamic optical device that is activated by the motion of the vehicles, playfully challenging the citizens' perception. The sides, formed by reflective aluminium pyramids, multiply the points of light and their depth, and are topped by a longitudinal platform that allows the to-ing and fro-ing of Their Royal Highnesses and their Assistants during the parade. A space for the utilities is also included inside. The geometry of the pyramids also ensures the generators are correctly ventilated. Platforms at the front and rear serve to stack the bags of sweets that will be handed out during the parade.

Each of the carriages has a predominating colour that is nuanced with other shades, depending on the personality of each King: gold and indigo for Melchior, blue and purple for Caspar, pink and green for Balthazar. They also produce certain effects related to their respective occupations: for Melchior, golden confetti is launched high up into the air as a symbol of astronomy and gold. In Caspar’s carriage, smoke is produced to represent alchemy and incense. Balthazar’s carriage blows water bubbles, as a reference to botany and myrrh. The textures and colours of the props and the clothing of the Royal Entourage accompanying the carriages are coordinated with the unit as a whole. Lastly, the units project a series of musical pieces from their lands of birth towards the public, thus adding to the festive atmosphere.

The size and height of the carriages is set by a study of the visual elements of the roads, so that they can be seen by the largest possible number of children, be they on the front row, standing behind these or in the stands. On the other hand, the volume of the carriages is set in relation with the urban scale, creating links with the most important streets, squares, towers, blocks, etc, of the city of Madrid.

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