Christmas is coming and as usual the big cities “spruce up” for the holidays, here and there rich, sumptuous and sparkling trees rise up - sometimes even distasteful - but in the capital of Hungary, in front of the Palace of Arts at the riverbank of the Danube stands a curious and fascinating composition: the Christmas Tree designed by Hello Wood. More than a Christmas tree, it is a true installation, somewhere between art and architecture. A stack of 365 sledges 11 meters high juxtaposed to create a Christmas tree.
Apart from the visual impact and the charm of the installation, it has a much more 'romantic' future use. Once the tree has been dismantled the 365 sledges making it up will be donated to the kids living in the homes of SOS Children's Village, an international orphanage program. This time it will not be so sad to disassemble a Christmas tree!
“We wanted to create a temporary installation, which is not only spectacular, but its main elements remain usable so they can be distributed among kids. For us, this is the point of social awareness: you don't only show something, but at the same time you give something unique.” says Andras Huszar, architect of Hello Wood about the installation.
The Christmas tree was built in a week. Visitors can step in and have a look at the construction from the inside. The base is made of steel, it weights 4,5 tons, so the construction is perfectly safe from the heavy winds of winter. The four stems of the installation hold 325 kilograms each. First, the carpenters of Hello Wood made the 10,5 meters tall wooden frame, which was brought to the scene, where it was put together with the help of a crane and the use of welding techniques. Then came the alpinists of Hello Wood, who were working on the installation for four consecutive days, fixing the sledges on the wooden frame while hanging down from the top of the tree. Although the installation is pretty heavy, it looks lightsome: if you step inside, it feels like you are in the middle of a huge snowflake.
Maxim Bakos, one of the founders of Hello Wood originally wanted to create a whole forest made of sledges, then came the idea to create a tree instead of a forest. “We were thinking a lot about what the secret of an original Christmas decoration is. The sledges were the good choice, because they are symbolizing Christmas, but free from the commercial Christmas clichés and the general bad taste that comes with them.” says David Raday, creative leader of Hello Wood, one of the originators of the concept.
Hello Wood is best known for its flagship event, a one week long art camp curated by founder Peter Pozsar every summer. It is not by chance that they cooperated with Palace Of Arts in creating the installation. One of the goals of the Palace of Arts is to work together with young and creative designers and architects. The installation of Hello Wood is more than just a nice piece of young creativity, because thanks to Hungarian Telekom, the sledges will be given to the inhabitants of the SOS Children’s Village.
Photo by Daniel Domolky