The Designer’s Christmas Trees in Belgium
Every year, charity organisation BIG against breast cancer invites designers from the fashion, design, architecture, and contemporary art industries to form their vision of a classic Christmas tree. These realisations are then auctioned at a black tie gala with all proceeds going to good cause. This year hosted 16 international names in the 3rd Belgium edition of the event. Left: Belgium-based design duo Muller Van Severen uses traditional christmas materials of foiled colours to compose an artistic wall-hung tree. Right: British fashion designer Stella McCartney’s modular wooden boxes include lit-up stars, a symbol of Christmas spirit.
The Designer’s Christmas Trees in BelgiumGlenn Sestig architect’s ’Sylvester’ pictured here has been created from black glass and polished brass. Veering away from archetypal festive trees but keeping with the shapely aesthetic, the structural piece includes an inviting space to represent sharing fun of the festive holidays. The Designer’s Christmas Trees began 20 years ago in Paris by Marie-Christiane Marek and this year the Belgium edition made €160.000.
Designer Christmas tree by Fendi at Hotel de Russie, Rome
The opulent Hotel de Russie has once again collaborated with fashion powerhouse Fendi in celebration of fine Italian craft for the festive season. Taking cues from the new Fendi ID-ea light bulbs that inspire gift ideas on their website, the five meter tall tree is formed of a whimsical combination of cut-out red, white and gold bulbs, all branded Fendi with a lightening bolt through them, some even playfully adorned with a tilted Santa clause hat. Decoratively displayed in the authentic courtyard of the hotel, the piece sprinkles luxuriance and decadence on the ancient architecture spot.
Kalpataru: The Wishing Tree, by Sarthak and Sahil at the V&A, London
Coinciding with the museum’s ongoing India Festival, this year’s festive installation at the V&A takes inspiration from Hindu mythology. More specifically, a certain wish-fulfilling divine tree, fusing together two celebrations of colour and light: Diwali and Christmas. The mural-style hand-painted piece was conceived by Delhi-based designers Sarthak and Sahil, and features organically Indian motifs in citrus hues. From a huge parrot to fruits and large lotuses, the patterns are printed onto botanical leaves and floral shapes while standing on thin brass legs.
Traditional Christmas fir, by Mark Colle at the Edition Hotel, London
Antwerp-based florist Mark Colle has realised this year’s Christmas tree at the Edition Hotel. Taking over the lobby bar area, the bespoke tree is decorated with different flora not usually connected with the festive season. In and among the fir sits moss and ivy, all in alternating tonal greens. Particular highlights include the essence of pink which lives in the Anthurium Danielle, embracing the natural, organic side of the season in this grand Georgian setting. Colle is the go-to fashion florist, having embellished many showstopping sets over the years. ’The scent,’ he says of the piece, ’should be magical.’
Plastic Fantastic, by Bethan Laura Wood at Sketch, London
On view at the 18th-century creative emporium Sketch is designer Bethan Laura Wood’s own conception of Christmas decorations. In her true eclectic style – which perfectly marries with Sketch’s artful aesthetic – the shapes in the hanging installation factor everything from crosses and flowers, to drop and round pearl imitations. These are all merged together to appear as classic streamers with a kaleidoscopic twist in PVC and glitter. Photography: Mark Cocksedge
Christmas tree, by Damien Hirst at the Connaught Hotel, London
In an alternative form of festive cheer, Damien Hirst celebrates the power of science and medicine with his decoration of the Mayfair-based Connaught Hotel’s tree. Adorning a 30ft tall Norway spruce is chemical paraphernalia of giant pills, medicine bottles and syringes among angelic white doves. A playful design touches on the serious concept of remaining thankful for the important things at such a festive time (while also reflecting ongoing themes within Hirst’s work). ’The Christmas tree is a celebration of togetherness, a joyful symbol of hope and love,’ explains the British artist. Photography: Prudence Cuming Associates. Courtesy the artist and Science Ltd
Holiday, by Snarkitecture, Miami
On display as part of Art Basel Miami is this shapely piece by experimental and conceptual duo Snarkitecture. Chanelling a purist colour aesthetic, the pair have here created a curvaceous structure as a reinterpreted and oversized imitation of a traditional candy cane, without its usual festive red stripes and with the addition of a knot. The 30 ft long piece is made of fibreglass and foam, and takes residence in the booming Miami Design District’s Palm Court and Paseo Ponti. Photography: Robin Hill
Christmas tree, by Christopher Bailey at Claridges, London
Commandeering the glitz and glamour of festive installations is this shimmering tree in at London’s quintessentially British hotel. Designed by Christopher Bailey of Burberry, the piece is made up of nearly 100 bespoke metallic umbrellas with 77,000 lights, embellishing the already striking art deco space. It’s a spectacular effect, a defacto light installation which reflectively changes the space through use of shadow.
The Christmas Star, in Light Touching, by Tord Boontje and Swarovski, Wattens, Austria
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Swarovski sparkle, and London-based designer Tord Boontje once again creates a modern shimmer, in a set of installations called Light Touching. The first of the three is a golden star located at the top of a tree in a Tyrol forest, radiating an artfully floral but powerful refulgence that can be seen across Swarovski’s Austrian hometown.
Light Touching, by Tord Boontje and Swarovski, Vienna, Austria
The latter two installations are inspired by the forest star piece. In Vienna, Boontje presents a grand chamber, comprising an atmospheric cove space framed by archways. The main event is an abstract light ray installation, shot through a Swarovski Nirvana Ring and powerfully cutting through the rest of the set with its perfect, brilliant rays.
’Upside-down’ Christmas tree at The Liberty Hotel, Boston
Boston’s Liberty Hotel has kept the aesthetic of luxury festive decoration but here presents it in a gravity defying installation. Suspended from the ceiling of the lobby’s 90-ft rotunda are seven trees resembling ornamental chandeliers. The piece was realised by John LaRoche from blueGuava Design Group using specially crafted decorations made of hand blown glass, bronze ribbon and 1500 tree lights that produce an impactful glow.
Happy Birthday Jesus, at Richard James, London
The sharp suits of Richard James – and the surrounding Savile Row area, for that matter – are flashing up for the festive seasons in a rather unexpected way. Flashing neon lights say ’Happy Birthday Jesus’ before disappearing into the darkness, only to shine anew seconds later. ’The idea was to do make people stop and look,’ says managing director Sean Dixon. ’It’s what Christmas is about whether you are religious or not.’ It is hardly surprising, then, that passers-by can’t help but stop and photograph themselves with it. A social media sensation in the making, this one.
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