Nothing signals the start of the holiday season like the unveiling of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and this year, there is one more reason to celebrate; renowned New York architect Daniel Libeskind has joined forces with crystal experts Swarovski to create the tree’s Star, the Big Apple’s highest symbol of Christmas cheer. 

The numbers are impressive. The tree-topper weighs some 400 kg, spans 2.80 m in diameter and features 70 spikes covered in three million Swarovski crystals. Finely crafted at the Austrian company’s factory in Wattens and then a specialist maker in Rhode Island, the piece makes excellent use of Swarovski’s time-honed skills in crystal technology and refraction of light. 

The overall design is a real show stopper, a dynamic, three-dimensional structure that bears the signature angled shapes and surfaces of its creator’s architecture. Light reflects artfully off the crystal surfaces and a balanced volumetric composition underlines that this piece is a work of sculpture, rather than mere festive ornament.

Daniel Libeskind swarovski rockefeller star new york

The scaffolding will be removed on the 28 November, followed by a tree lighting ceremony. Photography: Bryan Bedder

Revealed today, the Star will be joined by a Libeskind-designed retail pop-up featuring crystal ornaments for the holiday season. The unit also appears on the Rockefeller Plaza in a shape that echoes that of the Star, all crystalline forms and reflective surfaces. The 13.5m space includes glass panels and video screens, enveloping the retail element. 

‘The new Swarovski Star for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is inspired by the beauty of starlight – something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world’, says Libeskind. ‘The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace. I am tremendously honoured to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.’ §