Singpoli Group, LLC and Paradiso Parade Floats announced the 2016 Rose Parade float design, “Marco Polo: East Meets West” on Friday at the dusitD2 hotel constance in Pasadena, Calif. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Tournament of Roses President Mike Matthiessen, float designer Charles Meier of Paradiso Parade Floats, and Singpoli Group CEO Kin Hui unveiled the concept art.
A fire-breathing—real fire—dragon glides the full length of the float. Its looping body would reach 175 in length if uncoiled. Below its giant head, a rider dressed as Marco Polo stands on a moon bridge beneath the Venetian flag with the emblem of St. Mark’s lion. The dragon itself is a symbol of the meeting of East and West, with elements of both the benevolent creatures of Chinese mythology and the fire-breathing worms of European legend. The design embodies the core values of Singpoli: building bridges between the East and West.
“We’re excited for the 2016 Rose Parade and its theme of ‘Finding Your Adventure,'” Hui said. “Our entry will continue our message which is aimed at bridging eastern and western cultures.”
The 127th Tournament of Roses Parade, which takes place on Jan. 1, 2016, will be the third year that Singpoli has entered a float. Meier’s designs for Singpoli won trophies both years. “Connecting Cultures, Delivering Dreams,” which depicted two Tianma flying over a Chinese city, took home the Extraordinaire Trophy for most spectacular float in 2014. Tianma is very like Pegasus, which was one reason Singpoli was excited about the motif.
In 2015, “A Bright Future,” featuring an animated firebird with magnificent tail feathers, won the Grand Marshal’s Trophy for excellence in creative concept and design. The firebird is a legend in many cultures, both Asian and European.
The cross-cultural dragon on “Marco Polo: East Meets West” has been carefully tested and reviewed by fire marshals. Parade-goers are used to seeing fiery volcanoes, but this dragon, like the three alien space ships descending from the Public Storage float in 2014, might well be a first. The dragon holds a flaming purple pearl in its claws, which pour out smoke.
One of Meier’s artistic touches is to add fresh floral products in areas covered by dry materials. This float will have 85 percent fresh florals, and will use more citrus than any other float. The dragon’s body will be an elaborate mosaic of orange halves, protea, anthurium, dianthus and orchids. Grapefruit and tangerine rind will create the limbs of the creature and mums and coconut will make up the clouds. Roses will carpet the float deck; varieties include hot orange “Star 2000,” deep magenta “Hot Lady,” tangerine “Orange Crush” and two-tone “Circus” roses.