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 The London EDITION || Luke Edward Hall
British artist and designer Luke Edward Hall has looked to his proclivity for playful, Greco-Roman portraiture and bright colours to create The London EDITION’s 2019 Christmas tree. Hall notes on Instagram: “I was inspired by the idea of a Christmas dream and classic stories about mythical lands, such as Peter Pan. I bought a very beautiful old wooden galleon, painted it gold and stuck it on top of the tree. It looks tiny here yet it’s actually over 75cm long and is very heavy, but with a lot of help from the hotel’s engineers, it now floats high above the marble lobby. I also just wanted to make a super jolly, colourful tree. (Christmas is not about restraint after all.) The decorations are mostly old – I’d been gathering bits of scrappy German tinsel and baubles from the 1980s for months in preparation.”
The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light at Tate Britain || Anne Hardy
A now much anticipated art world fixture during the festive period, Tate Britain’s winter commission this year comes courtesy of London-based artist Anne Hardy, who has made the magnificent Millbank entrance into what appears to be an abandoned monument swathed in torn banners and entangled lights, titled The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light. Sculpted objects, looking something akin to ancient relics or fossils, along with draped textiles are scattered around the entrance steps, while a 21-minute sound work integrating watery and thundering noises surrounds visitors as they move towards the entrance. “The light and sound elements of the work are site-specific and have been choreographed in situ to give the impression that the building has become possessed,” the artist explains.
Christmas Tree at Hoi Polloi || Christopher Kane
Fashion designer Christopher Kane kick-started the holiday season with the unveiling of a bespoke Christmas tree at Ace Hotel’s Hoi Polloi restaurant. Decorated with ‘More Joy’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Special’ glass baubles from his latest More Joy capsule collection, Kane’s use of playful slogans act as positive affirmations reminding us to appreciate the joy of winter. Whilst they are not necessarily traditional, the decorated tree is certainly original. Just next door to the restaurant is the designer’s conveniently positioned new holiday pop-up shop, selling the full More Joy collection. Alongside the capsule collection, you can buy wrapping paper and Christmas cards printed with the same words. 100% of proceeds from the cards will be donated to Whitechapel Mission, a charity serving the homeless in East London for 143 years.
Christmas Tree at Sanderson || Yinka Ilori
London-based designer Yinka Ilori specialises in up-cycling vintage furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that surrounded him as a child. Humorous, provocative and fun, each piece of furniture he creates tells a story. Ilori has created a vibrant addition to the Sanderson hotel’s lobby in his signature bold aesthetic. The 2.5 metre design captures the joy experienced from the first glimpse of wrapped and stacked presents underneath a tree. Designed with industrial materials, the Christmas tree form consists of stacked objects with an internal light source, creating a glow from within.
The Loubi Express at Claridge’s || Christian Louboutin
Inspired by the romance of train travel, The Loubi Express is stationed in the Claridge’s lobby this Christmas. Passengers are invited to step through an enchanting wintery forest before taking a seat aboard Christian Louboutin’s glittering red locomotive. This immersive festive installation, decked out in Louboutin’s signature red livery, is an intimate setting for one-of-a-kind Christmas celebrations. Try one of an exclusive trio of cocktails created, once more, in collaboration with Louboutin. There’s Pantone 18, capturing his iconic red accent in a glass, and Pineapple Punch that pays tribute to the designer’s favourite fruit.
Christmas Tree at Louis Vuitton, Selfridges || Virgil Abloh
Following his appointment as artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear since March 2018, Virgil Abloh has brought a fresh and distinctly modern approach to the French house’s offering, extending to their retail spaces. In keeping with their 2019 holiday packaging design, Louis Vuitton have installed an ambitious Christmas tree formed of brightly coloured 3D cut-outs of their pervasive monogram, at London’s Selfridges. Appearing almost digitally rendered in space, the sculptural tree is finished in graduated hues of yellow, pink, blue, and green, creating a high-impact presence in the crowded department store.
Feature image: The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light, Anne Hardy Tate Britain Winter Commission © Anne Hardy: Courtesy Maureen Paley, London. Photo © Tate (Oliver Cowling) 2019