A Designer Christmas

Its that time of the year when the biggest names in design set their sights on Christmas Trees. This is our round-up of some of the most fascinating A-list festive trees that are bound to inspire.

SOM’s alternative tree for Berlin’s Utzon Center. 


As part of their ongoing exhibition at the center –  Sky’s the Limit – SOM the Engineering of Architecture, the firm designed a latticed pavilion instead of a more traditional Christmas tree. Set in the courtyard of the the final building to be designed by Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon before his death in 2008, the structure has a hollow into which visitors can step. SOM used Peter Lassen’s modular GRID system – a Danish design icon – to create the latticed form. It is illuminated with brightly coloured lights.”Stepping into the middle of a Christmas tree and getting that different and, in some ways, mind-bending experience of space and design, is not something you can experience elsewhere in Denmark, said Utzon Center creative director Lasse Andersson.

Jony Ive and Marc Newson’s room size Christmas Tree

Working alongside British set designer Michael Howells, Apple’s Jonathan Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson revealed an immersive, magical experience in the lobby of Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair, London.  Four-metre-high light boxes that glow with black and white photographs of snow-covered silver birch trees line the entrance to the hotel. Real silver birch trees placed in front of the backdrop in mounds of artificial snow layer the look as larger green pine trees stand in the foreground. A  young, metre-high tree stands on its own in a corner, symbolic of the future. Transformative lighting carries the winter scene across the day.

Shirazeh Houshiary’s Upside-down Christmas Tree

Re-imagining a similar piece she created for Tate over 20 years ago, the Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary ushered in the festive season at Tate Britain with a bare tree suspended from the roof of the gallery’s Millbank building. With it’s roots finished in gold leaf, and almost invisible against the architecture, the artist contemplates ‘seeking what is hidden rather than what is apparent.’ Houshiary’s tree is the first commission since the gallery suspended its festive practice to focus on a USD56 million renovation in 2013.

Alex Chinneck’s frozen Christmas tree

The British artist seemingly trapped a Christmas tree in a block of ice at London’s Kings Cross. Set within the colourful fountains outside Central Saint Martins’ Granary Square campus, the installation is a mammoth seven metres tall. The tree in question is five metres tall and the ‘ice cube’ is actually a two tonne block of resin carved to look like a hollowed ice cube. A surrounding puddle, which looks as if it is melting into the fountain, is actually made from 250 kilograms of clear wax. At night, 1,200 lights adorning the tree glow brightly through the resin.

You must be logged in to post a comment