For the third consecutive year, Hello Wood—an international educational platform of design and architecture based in Hungary—have "rethought the Christmas Tree." Their three festive installations, in London, Manchester and Budapest, have been designed to live beyond the holiday season and will be recycled into new structures to help different causes in the New Year. "The role of architecture has changed a lot in the last few years," says Peter Pozsar, co-founder of Hello Wood. "Hello Wood represents this socially responsive architecture."
View the three projects after the break.
Teaming up with London-based visual arts group Creatmosphere, Hello Wood has created an 11-meter tall Christmas tree made from 365 illuminated wooden sledges, each representing a day of the year. Cycles of changing colours and sound further represent the four seasons, inviting people to imagine the Christmas tree in different ways. After the holiday season, the tree will be dismantled, and 100 of the sledges will be donated to local schools, with the remaining available for purchase, of which ten percent of proceeds will go to charity.
From the designers. While Hello Wood designed and built the structure on London’s Granary Square at King’s Cross, Creatmosphere animated it with light and sound. To represent the four seasons, a cycle of colour-changing motion and sound will invite people to imagine the Christmas tree in different ways. Therefore, even in the earliest phases, architects and light artists worked together to create the tree, named Let it Snow. The name was chosen to call for snow at Christmas, and seeks to highlight the impact of climate change that has prevented sledging on London hills during this festive time for many years. The 100 sledges used to build the installation will be given away to local schools in the area, and the remaining will be available to the public for purchase on 7th January when the Christmas tree will be dismantled; 10% of the income from this will go to charity.
The tree at the Pilcrow Project was created in the hopes of becoming a symbol of the power of community-building, as 100% of the building materials for the project will be recycled to build the Pilcrow Pub’s workshop space, becoming work benches, furniture, flooring, wall coverings, and traditional pub games. The Pub itself will be a temporary moving structure built by volunteers, who can learn new skills through the construction process.
From the designers. As part of The Pilcrow Project in Manchester, Hello Wood was commissioned to build an 11-metre-tall tree on Sadler’s Yard. Some of the materials will be used as work benches, while other parts will be used for furniture, flooring, wall coverings, and traditional pub games. The Pilcrow Pub, which itself will be a temporary structure, has been designed to move around the NOMA neighbourhood as it develops, and is expected to fast become a local attraction and topic of conversation, giving people the chance to take part in the building process and learn new skills.
A series of free-to-attend workshops will encourage groups of volunteers to spend time learning a new skill by constructing part of the pub themselves. The branches of the Christmas Tree with a Difference are spiral-like and built on a basic structure, using pine and oak, in a variety of sizes and cross sections in order to provide the maximum number of possibilities for future use. The installation—which includes approximately 8m3 of wood and 4.5 tonnes of metal plates—took three weeks to prepare in Hungary, and five days to construct in Manchester.
The Charity Tree, which was made of 10,000 pieces of firewood that weight 40 tons, was built in Budapest to support the campaign of Hungarian Interchurch Aid. Following the installation, the firewood will be given to families in need to use during the cold winter months. A four-meter high staircase leads up the structure, offering views of the city through round windows that appear to be classic Christmas tree decorations from the outside.
From the designers. In Budapest’s Erzsébet Square, the goal was to create a Christmas tree for the Budapest community, symbolizing the importance of caring about each other. Therefore, all the firewood used to build it will be given to families in need during January. Hello Wood launched the project to raise awareness of these burning social problems that we have to find a solution to as a community. Hello Wood’s symbolic answer was to create a temporary installation, which can be used to heat homes during wintertime. The Charity Tree has a 4-metre-tall entrance, and the creator made sure that the inside is accessible with wheelchairs and buggies. Thanks to the special lighting effects, the round-shaped windows on the structure look like classic Christmas-tree decorations from the outside. Meanwhile visitors can get a view of the city looking out of the windows from the inside via a staircase leading up to 4 metres high.