December brings a generous dose of festive spirit and it seems with each year, London’s hospitality and cultural venues are getting more competitive with their decorations, commissioning leading artists and designers to create some truly unique offerings. Something Curated highlights six of the city’s most imaginative Christmas installations, taking a closer look at the creatives behind them.
Christmas Tree at Hoi Polloi || Luke Brooks & James Theseus Buck
This year’s Christmas tree at the Hoi Polloi restaurant in Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel is made by creative duo Luke Brooks and James Theseus Buck of Rottingdean Bazaar. Alongside their menswear offering, Rottingdean Bazaar’s fresh take on DIY expands to include homeware, artworks and editorials. Their tree design playfully incorporates digital and physical elements, made up of different LED light signs. The tree is tongue-in-cheek and innovative, typical of the pair, with signs reading phrases such as “Fish and Chips” and “Hair & Beauty.”
‘The Tree of Love’ at Claridge’s || Diane von Furstenberg
Created by acclaimed designer Diane von Furstenberg, The Tree of Love at The Claridge’s Hotel is perched in the space’s lobby at the bottom of its winding staircase. The six-metre tree is made from over 8,000 hand painted silver-leafed leaves, glass spheres, and 150 hand-blown glass hearts. To bring this tree to life, von Furstenberg worked closely with her longtime friends and collaborators, artistic set designer Stefan Beckman, artist and illustrator Konstantin Kakanias, and astrologer Shelley von Strunckel. ‘The Tree of Love’ is inspired by von Furstenberg’s passion and belief in the power of love, symbolising life and nature, and particularly drawing from the creative influences of the astrological world.
Christmas Tree at The London Edition || Zoe Bradley
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Sneak peak at our gigantic snowflake decorations.. Before the official launch of our Christmas tree designed exclusively for @londonedition @purplepr #londonedition #papersnowflakes #handsculpted #artist #christmastreedecorating #ianschrager #ianschragerhotels #sculptureart #papersculpture #paperartist #paperart #bespoke #christmas #luxury #spectacle
Designed by paper artist Zoe Bradley, this Christmas tree in the Lobby Bar at The London Edition is made from more than 160 hand-sculpted snowflakes. This innovative tree took over 100 hours to create, intricately crafted with more than 20,000 folds. On the top of the tree sits a white peacock, the rest of the tree lit up with glowing lights running throughout. Back in 1997, Bradley apprenticed with the late Alexander McQueen, and over the past 10 years, she has developed her own distinctive artistic practice, collaborating and creating works for labels including Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton.
COACH x Matty Bovan Holiday Tree at MatchesFashion Townhouse || Matty Bovan & Coach
Launched in the MatchesFashion Townhouse in Mayfair is a unique Christmas tree made by designer Matty Bovan. The tree is decorated with Coach bags, mostly made from their signature canvas of all colours and designs. Bovan used a collection of spare fabrics and bags, and garment cut offs to create the adornments on this tree, with string lights woven throughout. Bovan has had a relationship with Coach since he first rose to success under the wing of Fashion East, crediting Creative Director Stuart Vevers as an invaluable support and mentor.
Christmas Tree at The Connaught || Sir Michael Craig-Martin
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“It struck me that however beautiful, most Christmas trees are static, unchanging. I wanted to make a tree that was dynamic. I decided to engulf the tree in lights and find a way to introduce a full palette of ever changing colours.” Sir Michael Craig-Martin for this year’s Connaught Christmas Tree 🎄 #theconnaughtchristmastree2018 #mayfairmoments #shiningbright #christmastree #thisislondon
Bathed in light from top to bottom is this year’s Christmas tree at The Connaught, designed by Sir Michael Craig-Martin. Positioned outside the hotel’s main entrance, over 12,000 digital rainbow-hued lights envelop this tree, the colours ever-changing and lively. The tree stands tall at 9 metres, making an eye-catching statement engulfed in light. Artist Craig-Martin often works with vivid colour and light, having exhibited his installations in galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Giant Christmas Slugs at Tate Britain || Monster Chetwynd
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#weirdandwonderful ❤️ it! #monsterslugs trailing #tatebritain … inspired by a #davidattenborough doc on the mating rituals of leopard slugs who a emit a blue glow when they do it, usually at night time. #monsterchetwynd reminding us all that the darkness of winter is a time of renewal and rebirth… #apparently #cuffingseason #christmaslights #london @tate
Although this doesn’t technically fit into our tree edit this holiday season, the Tate’s Christmas decorations this year are definitely worth highlighting. Artist Monster Chetwynd has installed two large and illuminated leopard-printed sculptures of slugs, made of recyclable hessian and wicker. Each slug is over 10 metres long, accompanied by slug trails of blue and white LED lights across the building’s exterior. Artist Chetwynd is known for recreating and reworking some of the most iconic moments from cultural history in improvised performances, and was a recipient of The Turner Prize in 2012. For this display, Chetwynd said that she was inspired by a David Attenborough documentary that revealed the complex and absorbing rituals of leopard slugs.
Words by Jane Herz | Feature image via Matty Bovan