Seasons greetings: the festive installations of 2017 getting us in the mood

Seasons greetings: the festive installations of 2017 getting us in the mood

With the festive season in full swing, our eyes turn to those designers, artists and institutions that are offering up alternatives to the usual tinsel strewn and over illuminated trees. This year, sculptures are getting reflective with glass trees and recycled lighting, while others are feeling playful with vibrant hued staircases and even a christmas tree turned on its head. We bring you this year’s best seasonal spectacles.
  
Writers: Rosa Bertoli, Luke Halls, Pei-Ru Keh, Alexandra Onderwater, Elly Parsons

Madrid-based architect Sergio Sebastián Franco is a seasoned festive designer, having worked alongside the Madrid City Council since 2004. For 2017, he presents ‘Bells’, an interactive installation at the Monastery of Sant Cugat in Barcelona. Three highly-polished steel bells sit adjacent to each other with different internal functionalities – one a kaleidoscope that reflects it surroundings, another is an interpretation of the nearby monastery’s rose window, and the last is a giant xylophone, activated by user interaction. Bells’ innards are interchangeable too, allowing it to take on a different form next Christmas – a gift that keeps on giving.

Plaça d'Octavià, 1, 08172 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain

‘Bells’ by Sergio Sebastián Franco
Barcelona, Spain

Christopher Bailey, John Galliano, Alber Elbaz and Dolce & Gabbana have all designed Christmas trees for the iconic Mayfair hotel. The latest in a long line of designers is Karl Lagerfeld. Claridge’s’ iconic lobby has been festooned with Lagerfeld christmas trees, each with a 180 degree twist – they’re upside down. With shining white roots on show, reaching to the ceiling, gold baubles drip elegantly downwards, towards a draping cloud of white, snow-like fur.

Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

Claridge’s Christmas tree by Karl Lagerfeld
London, UK

Formally installed at Sweden’s northernmost town in response to a commission from Riksbyggen, Bigert & Bergström’s sculptural, egg-shaped sauna has moved to the Swedish Institute in Paris. Made from stainless steel mirrors with titanium gold colour coating, the ‘egg’ refracts sunlight into a multiplicity of different mirror images. Inside, a structure has been formed out of wood, with the wall panels and floor decking made out of pine and the bench of aspen. In the centre stands the wood-heated, heart-shaped sauna stove made out of iron and stone. Until 10 December.

Swedish Institute, 11 Rue Payenne, Paris

Solar Egg by Bigert & Bergström
Paris, France

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