Referred to as a "seasonal landmark," previous designers of the Claridge's Hotel tree include Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry
Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair, London, has a long history of employing some of the biggest names in fashion to add a sense of unique – and expensive – style to its annual Christmas tree. In the past, the pine tree has been decorated by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, and John Galliano, and not Claridge’s has employed one of the world’s most celebrated product designers to dress its tree – only to see him leave it entirely bare.
Jony Ive, the British product designer whose minimalist approach is credited with helping to make Apple the tech giant it is today, and Marc Newson, Apple’s industrial designer, were tasked with coming up with a concept for the 2016 tree in the luxury hotel. But instead of decking the halls and shining up some new baubles in the shape of Steve Jobs’ pensive head, the duo opted to create a “magical experience” in the lobby instead.
For their installation, Ive and Newson filled the hotel’s iconic entrance with four-metre-high light boxes that display black and white images of snow-coated silver birch trees, with real versions of the tree placed in front of the murals. These around surround by painstakingly arranged pile sof artificial snow, with larger pine trees filling up the foreground.
Working with British set designer Michael Howells, the design team have filled the foyer with mood lighting designed to simulate the passage of day to night, along with bird calls from dawn until twilight. A metre-tall sapling is illuminated in a corner, something the designers describe as being “symbolic of the future.”
“There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology,” the designers said of their work. “Our aim was to create an all-enveloping experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognising our excitement about the future and things to come.”