Brussels’ Controversial Christmas Tree

Posted by // December 4th, 2012 // Product Design 1 Comment »

Christmas markets are currently being held across Europe, the tradition dating as far back as the fourteenth century. Running over the four weeks of Advent, they are typically held in city centres with a range of temporary stalls selling food, drink and seasonal gifts. The markets are particularly popular in Germany, with many becoming tourist attractions and some attracting millions of visitors. In Brussels, Belgium, its Christmas market is known in English as ‘Winter Wonders’, with an illuminated two kilometre pedestrianised route is created with 240 open-air stalls. A one-thousand square metre ice-skating rink is installed to add to the festivities.

This year the theme of the event is ‘light’, with five artistic lighting installations set-up across the city. One installation in particular has caused headlines thanks to its unusual appearance. The ABIES-Electronicus is an artificial Christmas tree standing at twenty-five metres and covered with wood and a projection screen fabric. LEDs enable the tree to be used to project light and sound in an impressive evening display. The trunk features a stairway allowing people to climb to nineteen metres high, providing stunning panoramic views around the Market Square and further across Brussels. The tree is designed by the French company 1024 Architecture who specialise in light displays, and was first installed at the Noel Bleu Christmas market in the small Alsace town of Guebwiller, France two years previously.

Source: 1024 Architecture

Unfortunately not all locals have taken to the alternative tree, with over twenty-five thousand people signing up to an online petition calling for its removal. Many believe the tree has been used as an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree, to avoid offending non-Christians. However these people seem to have ignored the ‘light’ theme of this year’s Winter Wonders. Although a twenty metre pine tree is normally taken from the Ardennes forest, there are still a number of smaller real trees around the Grand Place. Brussels’ tourism councillor, Philippe Close, believes that the tree shows the ‘avante-garde character’ of the city by blending modern art with the traditional seventeeth-century buildings.

Source: zzkt

Source: 1024 Architecture

One Response

  1. Johnny Deformed

     (post author)   says:

    looks good from a distance. up close… not so much!

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