This is a post about Apple’s Chief Design Officer and one of the most influential designers of our time joining forces to create a Christmas tree. And as you can imagine, it’s nothing like your set up back home.
When it was announced that Apple’s CDO Jony Ive and fellow designer extraordinaire Marc Newson were to create the Claridge’s Christmas tree, expectations shot through the roof.
For the 7th year in a row, the Claridge’s have called upon bankable figures from the world of fashion and design to create what is now a seasonal landmark in London.
Ive and Newman add their names to a list that includes the likes of Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Dolce & Gabbana, and Lanvin to name a few. So the hype is justified.
But does it meet expectations?
Bailey’s bore 77,000 lights and 100 umbrellas plated in gold and silver, Gabbana’s stood 8 feet tall and was decorated with 300 hand – painted glass baubles, and Ive’s and Newson’s… well, it’s nothing like that.
For 2016, the Claridge’s Christmas tree is more of an experience than a decorative artwork.
This year, the Claridge’s whole lobby is transformed into a winter wonderland where black and white photographs of birch trees covered in snow are displayed on four meter high light boxes amid a forest of cast Scots pine and natural birch which rise to a canopy of green pine on the ceiling. A bright and white light ebbs and flows throughout, creating a day and night cycle in this ethereal display.
But on the trees, not a single bauble, thread of gold or star. Here, Nature rules supreme.
“There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature.” says the design duo “ so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology. Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognising our excitement about the future and things to come.”
The value of tradition and technology was also echoed by Claridge’s co-owner, Paddy McKillen “we are honoured and delighted that our friends Jony and Marc agreed to take up the challenge of designing our annual Claridge’s Christmas Tree. I truly believe that their innovative vision brings the best of tradition and technology together to create some Christmas magic and fun in our lobby for guests and visitors at this festive time of year”
As nature and our relationship towards it in this technological age become more important than ever, the Claridge’s Christmas tree can be forgiven for not being your usual Christmas display. What it represents is hope and what better message is there for the festive season?