400-Year Birthday in Madrid

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Janet Echelman suspended a wire sculpture over the King Felipe III statue. 

To celebrate 400 years since the completion of the Plaza Mayor, the main square in Madrid, the American artist suspended a wire sculpture entitled 1.78 Madrid and is part of the artist’s earth time series.

King Felipe oversaw the construction of the Plaza Mayor during his reign in the 1600s.

The 1.78 refers to the microseconds lost the day of the massive earthquake in Japan in 2011 where NASA scientists measured the speed of the earth’s rotation.

The art installation is made of thin fibre wires threaded and braided together to create a lightweight structure that moves with the wind. The fibres are brightly coloured and are amplified by light projections that provide a dramatic effect in the evenings.

The simple but striking installation proved not only popular with visitors but was a hit globally on Instagram feeds.

The 1.78 project brought a new chapter to the history of the famous plaza that has seen, among other things, bullfights and Spanish Inquisition burnings.