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Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

Red, silver and gold Christmas tree installation stands in front of a curved wall of clear glass bottles.
MA Interior and Spatial Design students' final design for the Christmas installation for the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London. - Credit: Photographer: Tim Winter

Creating a unique Christmas tree for the five-star Shangri-La Hotel


MA Interior and Spatial Design students were commissioned to design and create an environmentally conscious seasonal installation for the international hotel chain’s luxury London location, receiving significant press attention.

The brief

The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London is one of over 100 five-star luxury hotels in the Shangri-La Group. Starting on level 34, it occupies 18 floors of The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building.

In 2019, the hotel set the brief for an experimental, eye-catching Christmas installation for their entrance lobby, inviting an artist or group of artists to design and build a tree that would draw significant attention from the public and press.

The chosen proposal would take inspiration from the architectural design of Shard which is fabricated mainly from glass and be environmentally conscious.

Close up of dark red and silver metal gingko leaves with blurry glass and lights behind.
Detail of the MA Interior and Spatial Design students' final design for the Christmas installation for the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London. - Credit: Photographer: Tim Winter

The project

45 students pitched concepts to the hotel in groups, with support from Amritt Flora, Course Leader, MA Interior and Spatial Design, Chelsea College of Arts.

Using feedback from the client, 10 students went on to bring the selected concept to life, planning fabrication, working within a budget, using analytical thinking, considering context, material and a design method.

“Our ideas weren’t limited to a student budget because a REAL client wanted to invest in an idea that we had the opportunity to brainstorm, propose and implement.” - Sarah Celebidachi, MA Interior and Spatial Design student

Close up of dark red and silver metal gingko leaves with blurry glass and lights behind.
Detail of the MA Interior and Spatial Design students' final design for the Christmas installation for the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London. - Credit: Photographer: Tim Winter

The outcome

The final design was inspired by the hotel’s Glass Christmas theme and writer James Hilton’s book The Lost Horizon – the novel best known as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopia located high in the mountains of Tibet.

The ginkgo tree, a species native to China, was selected as the motif for the seasonal installation to symbolise the meeting of East and West and a collective search for serenity – motifs explored in Hilton’s novel.

Hundreds of glass bottles were recycled from the hotel’s restaurants and integrated into the design to promote sustainability in a season of excess.

Press coverage of the design appeared in the Evening Standard, Conde Nast, Forbes and The Telegraph.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Chelsea College of Arts for our lobby Christmas Tree. It was a very smooth and rewarding experience, and we would like to sincerely thank the students for all of the time and effort they put into bringing our lobby Christmas Tree to life.” - Kurt Macher, General Manager, The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

Contact us


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+44 (0)20 7514 9302
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