One of the most hotly anticipated reveals of the festive season each year is the Claridge’s Christmas tree and for the last seven years the hotel have invited a host of top design minds to create unique concepts for lobby’s mammoth tree. Considered one of the best 5-star hotels in the world, Claridge’s exudes glamour from every room. The epitome of timeless elegance, it sits proudly in the heart of Mayfair and has traversed the decades with both physical and spiritual aspects of its heritage intact and still boasts one of the most impeccable services in the city.
Last year Burberry’s Creative Director Christopher Bailey was at the helm and for 2016 the honour has been bestowed upon Apple’s Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive and leading designer Marc Newson. Regarded as two of the world’s most influential designers, the pair are also long-time friends of the hotel and were the perfect choice to create this year’s decorative transformation.
The top design duo’s creation was unveiled on 21st November and the big reveal uncovered not only a Christmas tree as we have seen in previous years, but an immersive festive installation to be experienced by guests and visitors all throughout the Christmas period. Playing with the relationship between nature and technology, tradition and the future and three dimensions and two, the installation which was made with the help of renowned British set designer Michael Howells depicts an enchanting forest combining modern technology with traditional forms and aspects of nature.
The lobby is lined with four metre high light boxes depicting black and white photographic images of snow covered silver birch trees, which serve as a striking backdrop on a pure white floor. Cast models of Scots pine stand in front of the lightboxes and are layered with both natural and photographed silver birch and fir trees which rise to a canopy of natural pine. Symbolising the future and continual growth a young three foot high tree can be seen amongst the forest, and a bright white light flows throughout the installation slowly fading to night before the sun rises again in an unceasing cycle.
A unique take on the classic Claridge’s Christmas tree, the distinct instalment has already garnered great attention after its unveiling and Ive and Newton have commented on the concept behind the exhibit:
‘There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, 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 magical forest scenery is not the only new addition to the hotel this season, Claridge’s have also unveiled the Festive Afternoon Tea which is a reimagining of their classic offering with highlights of roast organic turkey & cranberry and pork & chestnut sandwiches with freshly baked Claridge’s scones. A selection of desserts including Mariage Frères “Noël” gelée and crispy choux baubles finish the tea accompanied with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.