First look at Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson’s immersive festive installation for Claridge’s

Festive scenery with blue light shining down
Mayfair hotel Claridge's has unveiled its 2016 festive installation, this year designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson
(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)

The unveiling of the Claridge’s Christmas tree has traditionally heralded the start of London’s festive season, not least because of the illustrious roster of designers who have headlined the Mayfair hotel’s installations. For 2016, it is designers (and long-time friends of the hotel) Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson who have taken up the challenge of reinterpreting the tree.

The pair, who collaborated with British set designer Michael Howells on the project, explain, ‘Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognising our excitement about the future and things to come.’ This year’s installation is suitably forward-looking with nary a bauble or thread of tinsel to be seen, instead exploring the relationship between nature and technology.

Exterior of Claridge's with Christmas lights and trees

(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)

See Claridge’s past Christmas tree collaborations

Transforming Claridge’s grand lobby, a series of vast four metre-high light boxes line the walls, illuminating black-and-white images of snow-capped silver birch trees. Against this immersive backdrop, towering cast models of Scots pine rise to a canopy of natural green pine.

‘There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology,’ Ive and Newson say. A soundscape recalls acoustics from a forest, starting with a dawn chorus and including owls, nightingales, sparrows and foxes. Specially choreographed lighting – synced to the soundscape – creates a dappled effect in the space, continuously cycling through sunrise to a celestial night scene.

Jony Ive on Apple Park

A smaller sapling tree grows among the ‘forest’, playing with proportions – but it’s also a symbol of the future, they say. In a year as tumultuous as this one has been, Claridge’s festive installation ushers in some much needed calm and optimism.

Interior showing wide curved stair case and blue lighting

Vast light boxes featuring a crisp, black-and-white photographic mural of snow-covered silver birch trees form the backdrop to towering models of cast Scots pine

(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)

Backdrop showing a snowy forest

Playing with proportion, a smaller sapling tree sits underneath a canopy of natural pine

(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)

Claridge's Christmassy winter scenery near glass door entrance

Mimicking the dappled light of forests, specially choreographed lighting continuously cycles through sunrise to a celestial night scene

(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)

Interior design of Claridge's showing large Christmas trees and staircase

The immersive installation leads through to Claridge's art deco lobby, where several bare trees are dotted around the space

(Image credit: designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson)


The Christmas installation is on view until 3 January 2017. For more information, visit the Claridge’s website


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