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An immersive installation of the Christmas tree for the Museum of Modern Art in St. Petersburg, Russia., Source: ARNAUD LAPIERRE DESIGN STUDIO

Bordeaux replaces Christmas tree with an art installation

Bordeaux replaces Christmas tree with an art installation

It was announced earlier this year that there will be no display of a cut tree

Over the last couple of weeks, we told many stories of how cities have already started installing their Christmas decorations, creating a warm end-of-the year feeling of cosiness and hospitality. And while Christmas fairs and markets are inseparable from the holiday experience, the centre-piece of each city’s efforts to shine bright and tune into a festive mood is certainly the lighting of the Christmas tree.

But Christmas trees, as we have recently seen, are no longer what they used to be. The sweeping wave of sustainability overtaking European cities is obviously touching upon our traditional conception of Christmas celebrations, too.

We have started seeing more and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the cut trees. After Lithuania’s Vilnius unveiled a conic-shaped installation covered with 96 giant snowflakes instead of a tree, and Romania’s Arad presented a tree made from satin and branches, it was the turn of France’s Bordeaux to surprise us.

The French city has recently unveiled that this year, it will not be chopping down a living Christmas tree, but will instead have an eco-friendly art installation, authored by a local artist.

Christmas celebrations with a nod to sustainability

Following an earlier declaration of the new green mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, that Christmas trees were dead and that there will be no public displays of a Christmas tree in his city, the public was eagerly waiting to see the alternative for the 2021 holiday season.

Now, the city has unveiled the concept: the mock Christmas tree will consist of a recycled glass tree-shaped mirrored art installation, which recalls a real tree, minus the environmental impact. The object will be faceted with emerald-colored one-way mirrors, without any other decorations but the reflections of the surroundings:

"This iconic translation of the Christmas tree is an invitation to come closer to capture and contemplate the mirror effects which refract the lights on its environment (one of the most beautiful squares in Bordeaux!)," explained the author of the installation, Arnaud Lapierre, as quoted on the city website.

His artwork has already been on display at the Museum of Modern Art of Saint-Petersburg, Russia, but in a smaller size – rising 6 metres, while the one in Bordeaux will be 11 metres tall. Remains to be seen whether locals will appreciate the change.

The installation will shine bright on Pey-Berland Square from Saturday, 11 December to 2 January.

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