Nothing beats the Christmas installations in London. In the run-up to the festive season, the city provides an illuminated offering for every mood and taste. And beyond the optical overload of garish Christmas lights, faux snow, and Santa’s grottos, there’s an art and design wonderland to be found. Explore our pick of the best festive art installations to bring you comfort, joy and creativity this holiday season.
CHRISTMAS INSTALLATIONS TO SEE IN LONDON
1. The Winter Light exhibition at Southbank Centre
This year’s edition of The Southbank Centre’s free, open-air exhibition ‘Winter Light’ will illuminate the art centre, its adjacent buildings and Riverside Walk with 11 low-energy LED light works from ten acclaimed contemporary artists. The installations utilise light, colour and mixed media to playfully explore topics critical to contemporary society. Featured artists include Emily Mulenga, Fred Tschida, Conrad Shawcross and Caiwei Tang.
2. Kings Cross’ Granary Square winter installation
For the 2022 Granary Square winter installation, Berlin experimental art and architecture practice Raumlabor has illuminated Kings Cross with a 33ft-high totemic structure titled elsewhere: a place to think about the world. As its name suggests, the installation offers visitors a space to reflect on the beauty and complexity of the world through kaleidoscopic lights and heat maps that demonstrate our changing planet. The work forms part of a series of winter installations and festive trees commissioned by King’s Cross, which include Liliane Lijn’s Temenos, 2021 (on view again this year), and architect Sam Jacobs’ The Electric Nemeton, 2020.
3. Louis Vuitton collaborates with Lego for festive store installations
In collaboration with Lego (which celebrates its 90th birthday this year), Louis Vuitton has unveiled a new series of playful window installations for its global store windows and in-store holiday displays, including at the brand’s New Bond Street London flagship. Lego blocks form the material for enchanting Christmas art installations that celebrate creativity, colour and imagination. Developed by the Louis Vuitton Visual Image Studio and realised by Lego Certified Professionals, these compositions follow on from a creative exchange that began with the Louis 200 project, for which the Lego Group was among the visionaries, contributing a colossal birthday cake formed of 31,700 bricks.
4. Claridge’s Christmas Tree by Sandra Choi
Iconic hotel Claridge’s has enlisted the vision of Jimmy Choo’s creative director Sandra Choi for its annual Christmas tree. Titled The Diamond, this sculptural creation comprises reflective mirrors and light that pulses and undulates through its form. The tree will be topped with a giant, shimmering bow – a nod to one of the key motifs in the brand’s winter collection. As Choi commented: ‘Claridge’s is a London jewel, it’s multifaceted, like the diamond that inspired our tree, like Jimmy Choo.’
5. St Pancras Christmas Tree in partnership with The Prince’s Trust
St Pancras International station has unveiled a striking Christmas tree in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. Standing 33ft tall, and comprising 80 hand-illustrated buildings, the design features iconic silhouettes of the London skyline, which the station has been part of since 1868. Including terrace houses, department stores, concert venues and more, the design concept draws on the 1955 film On the Twelfth Day, based on the receiving of all the gifts from the eponymous song. The installation also spotlights the work of The Prince’s Trust, which is offering support to young people at what is a critical time, during the cost of living crisis and the aftermath of the pandemic.
6. The Connaught Christmas Tree by Suzie Murphy
This year, The Connaught Christmas Tree has been designed by London-born artist and sculptor Suzy Murphy. The striking, playful and thought-provoking creation comprises a British-sourced Nordmann fir tree dappled with 34 neon dogs, for which she was inspired by Toby was a girl, a series of sketches inspired by her childhood pet. In neon on the tree’s base, Murphy deploys her creative and philosophical mantra, ‘solitude, truth, passion and peace’, to describe the various stages one must pass through in order to achieve ‘peace’.
Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.
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