Rotten Riches

Gigeno takes us through a baroque double-decker palace

Who among us has never succumbed to the lure of creating costly, absurdly OTT palaces for our Minecraft avatars? Towers, pillars, portals, arcs, halls constructed of - and filled with - the treasures our virtual labor wrested from the depths of the earth. Another statue of myself made entirely of diamond blocks? Why not!

Ah, but maybe I should be less flash with my cash. Now I know the fate that befell a man called W. Wealth, who had become the richest man alive only to realize that money doesn’t buy happiness.

But it certainly does buy luxury and beauty. Just gaze upon his splendorous home, a structure that is equal parts gorgeous and decadent. Piles of giant gold coins casually strewn about. A villa built on top of an enormous palace.

A theater, telescope and globe reveal Wealth’s aspirations to be seen as a man of culture, knowledge and sophistication. In an allusion to Egyptian mythology, a giant scale weighs feathers on one side, and a W. Wealth’s heart on the other.

Luckily, the sins in his heart weigh less than the feathers; there’s still hope for W. Wealth, but an hourglass suggests that his time may be running out.

The architect behind all this is Gigeno, who doesn’t merely want to dazzle, but also has a point to make: “I created a model of man who achieved his goals to be the richest man alive. By surrounding himself with his possessions, he ultimately trapped himself in an illusion of happiness. He didn’t know that the real happiness comes from helping others and having friends to share his time with.

"It’s my critique of the baroque age filled with unnecessary splendor covering up the melancholy of sad people. Meanwhile the same is true of our modern society.”

Even a project like this has humble beginnings. “First comes a simple idea. This time it was building a palace on top of another palace to show the epicness of classical architecture,” Gigeno explains.

“The small palace on the top was used as a scale reference. Each part was built separately, so as not to feel any constraint while building. Every other addition was just adding more and more ‘glitter’ to the project to make it full of juicy details.”

But eventually, the project developed into something even more ambitious. “I had been creating the palace for a while without any concept of a story behind it. Then one of my friends said something about gold lying on the ground and it triggered a whole new idea. I quickly wrote it down and the next day I started gathering ideas to expand the concept. After a few days I had finally ended up with the story of unhappy W. Wealth.”

As you can probably tell from the sheer complexity of W. Wealth’s not-so-humble abode, this isn’t the first time Gigeno has built a palace. His projects are fueled by his passion for real historical buildings.

“While building the small palace on the top I was inspired by a palace in Otwock Wielki. Other details like main gate, globe etc. are from a palace in Nieborów. I really enjoy building structures from the real world like Polish palaces, old towns and town halls. As a lover of baroque architecture, I tried to keep everything rich in detail and use a lot of motifs related to the main theme, such as the scale, globe, telescope and hourglass.”

In the end, the project didn’t take as long as building a real palace, but it still devoured a full two months of Gigeno’s time. “I feel I could make it even bigger but I got little lazy in the end. All in all, it’s still my biggest project.”

While you probably shouldn’t imitate the life choices of lonely, sad W. Wealth, you perhaps might want to follow in the footsteps of his creator and build something as grand and baroque as him.

“If you want to build something incredible you should start with something small. Use concept art to support your creativity and always get pleasure from everything you build. I recommend educating yourself about the basics of architecture to fully understand what you are building and build it even better.”

Perhaps, if you follow Gigeno’s example, you too will acquire a Midas Touch that turns every project you touch into metaphorical gold! But without the adverse effects, hopefully.

Renders by Lukasz, TerrorQ, nygma, iRoboMatic, Mag and Casey

Written by
Andreas Inderwildi

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