Designed by Like Architects, Frozen Trees is a temporary installation for Christmas lighting in D. Pedro IV square in Lisbon. It builds an illuminated, frozen and fractal Christmas landscape that affects and alters the path of passers by as thirty cylinders – structured, self-sufficient streetlights – are placed throughout the square, drawing a new landscape and context and inviting the visitors to new spatial experiences. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed from the creative association of ”Rationell Variera” piece by K Hagberg/M Hagberg (IKEA – 1,5€), and taking advantage from its shape, “FROZEN TREES” brings a domestic object to the scale of the town – thus dissociating it from its original function and leading to the loss of its identity as a single element, making a general call for creativity in the current socio-economic conjecture.
The volumes, made of multiple holes, are visually trespassed and define an ethereal presence in the square. The installation takes then advantage from the holes of the original object and the translucent properties of its material – polypropylene plastic -, simultaneously flexible, non-inflammable and highly absorbent and potentiating the transmittance of light, either natural or artificial. Blending with the urban surrounding, Frozen Trees presents different characteristics during the day and night: by day, the trees make surprising shadows and the ensemble makes an abstract, white and tracery landscape, through which we see the surrounding; by night, illuminated from inside by LEDs, the elements, as street lamps, explode with white light, creating a Christmas ambiance with variable intensity.
Structural and constructive strategy
A 160 x 450 mm plastic piece is the basic element for the modular logic of this project; in fact, it is the size of the element that draws the structural module. Each of the 30 trees is the same height – 3,6 metres – but three different diameters coexist – 5, 10 or 15 pieces in the bottom – totalling ten units on each of the three sizes.
The light metal structure is made of vertical profiles and horizontal triangular rings; the first receive the IKEA pieces, the latter the illumination network made of monochromatic LEDs. Twenty four hundred ‘Rationell Variera’ pieces were previously fastened to the structures, still at the studio, and later transported to the Rossio. Once at the destination, the basis of these elements was fixed to the ground, to ensure its stability.
Frozen Trees is a fast production and easy set-up installation, able to pop-up and disappear from a city without destroying or damaging anything. The illumination is based upon a white monochromatic LED system, characterized by low voltage and energy consumption and also able to adjust the light’s intensity.
Each element’s energy supply is made by a car battery that ensures its autonomy throughout the Christmas period. Regarding the effect/cost ratio, choosing a standard object proved to be an effective solution, allowing for a unique aesthetic result for a very competitive price. On the other hand, polypropylene plastic pieces are reusable and highly recyclable.
Now that the Christmas period has ended, Frozen Trees are looking to other places and squares of the country, so they can adapt, in a surprising and innovative way, to new contexts, suggesting new spatial opportunities.
Architects: Like Architects
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Team: Diogo Aguiar and Teresa Otto
Client: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda
Dimensions: 10 prisms with 3,60 m high with pentagonal base (16 cm side); 10 prisms with 3,60 m high with decagonal base (16 cm side); 10 prisms with 3,60 m high with pentadecagonal base (16 cm side)
Materials: 2400 plastic bags dispensers ”Rationell Variera”, 2500 meters of metallic tubular (square section) – 10X10X1.5mm, 100 meters of metallic tubular (square section) – 25X25X2mm, 330 linear meters of 12-volt white LED tape, 45 12-volt car batteries, 10 battery chargers, 4800 self-drilling screws 3.5x16mm