Apple's Ive and Newson unveil unadorned fir trees for Claridge's Christmas installation

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Apple CDO Jony Ive and part time company collaborator Marc Newson on Saturday unveiled their awaited interpretation of Claridge's Christmas tree in London. The installation, which is quite literally a small grove of completely bare fir trees, once again proves the pair of industrial designers masters of the austere.

Clairdge's Christmas tree installation is something of a tradition in London, and for many marks the start of the holiday season. Every year the swanky hotel commissions a world-renowned designer to reimagine the festive arboreal symbol in their own style. Last year it was Christopher Bailey from Burberry, and before that Claridge's called on Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Dalian and others.

For 2016, Ive and Newson had their turn and delivered not one, but a thicket of unadorned fir trees, reports Wallpaper. Just as Apple's spartan device designs are supported and enhanced by powerful hardware and software, so are the trees augmented by a technologically advanced set design.

Ive and Newson collaborated with British set designer Michael Howells to create a winter wonderland. Large 12-foot tall light boxes light black-and-white images of birch trees, creating a sense of depth. Cast models of Scots pine intermingle and give way to a ceiling of natural green pine.

Strategically placed lighting choreographed to an acoustic showcase of forest sounds filters through the branches, cycling from sunrise to moon-filled night, as faux snow covers the floor and the odd tree stump.

"Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognizing our excitement about the future and things to come," the pair said. "There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology."

Set off among the grove of real, fake and imagined trees is a small sapling, bathed in pure light from above. The startling juxtaposition is intentional, the designers said, as the growing fir represents the future.


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