17 November 2017

Lighting up the landscape for Christmas at Kew

Each year Kew brings together light artists from around the globe to create bespoke pieces for Christmas at Kew. We reveal some of the innovative installations you can experience on the trail this year.

A million sparkling lights 

Christmas at Kew returns for its fifth year with a million sparkling lights and a new route incorporating the Sackler Crossing and the Great Broad Walk Borders, while family favourites such as the Fire Garden and the Palm House lightshow make a welcome return. 

Ahead of the opening night on 22 November, we preview a few fantastic light installations you will see on the trail. 

Lightbench by Bernd Spiecker 

How do you sit on light? Designed to look like a conventional park bench, Bernard Spiecker’s benches glow and change colour from blue to green to yellow. A moment to stop and rest or talk to the person next to you, the light benches allow you to be part of a gentle interaction of light, colour and simple architecture. 

Sledgetree by Creatmosphere and Hellowood 

Imagine an 11 metre tall Christmas tree made from 365 illuminated wooden sledges, and you have Sledgetree! 

Sledgetree is an exceptional piece of art, light and architecture reinterpreting the classic Christmas tree. To represent the festive season, a cycle of colour changing, motion and soundscape will invite people to imagine the Christmas tree in different ways. 

The installation is calling for snow at Christmas and seeks to highlight the impact of climate change that has for many years prevented sledging on London hills. 

Tony’s Tree 

Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum at Kew, and his horticultural team have added their own light creation to Christmas at Kew this year. 

Tony chose a special Turkey oak tree on the route, and decorated it with over 1,000 metres of lights which took six team members 10 days to decorate. 
Tony Kirkham said: “We have over 14,000 trees spread throughout the Gardens, and oak trees are well represented with over 2,700 specimens of 112 species. It’s been great to make a feature of just one of these - a Turkey oak on the trail route– using the pea lights to showcase its form and structure. We hope everyone who visits will be wowed by its sheer size and scale and be reminded of the beauty of the natural form of all trees at winter time, not just traditional Christmas trees.”  

Duet by ITHACA 

Duet is a magical, ethereal light and sound experience designed for our iconic Sackler Crossing bridge, featuring two voices singing in harmony across the lake to each other. 

Designed on the crossing, lake and islands, Duet incorporates an illuminated animated bridge (covered in light bars with 26,400 LED lights) while atmospheric underwater lights shine from the depths of the lake. The bespoke soundscape is specially composed to complement the lights and creates a magical atmosphere. 

Come and join us 

There are many more light installations - plus festive food and entertainment throughout the mile-long trail route - so grab your friends, wrap up warm, and experience Christmas at Kew for yourself.