by Yu Ran and Wu Ni
A glass Christmas tree, in the central atrium of Life Hub, is an eco-friendly creation made from recycled glass. — Santa Claus, festive carols, warm drinks and puckering up under the mistletoe – Shanghai gets ready to celebrate Christmas. Yu Ran and Wu Ni tell you the hot spots.
With jingle bells set to ring next week, the city of Shanghai is making preparations to welcome the arrival of Santa by lighting Christmas trees, holding special events and opening Christmas markets.
There are a lot of activities coming up for local people to feel the warm Christmas atmosphere in a cold winter in well-known locations around the whole city.
Let’s check some of them out.
Merry KissMas in Xintiandi: It has been a tradition that artists are invited to create Christmas-themed installations in Xintiandi, a renowned landmark in the city. They will be working with Paul Cocksedge’s studio from London to introduce an interactive lighting installation KISS, which is activated by human touch in the form of a kiss.
Featuring artistic lighting and ingenious technology, KISS will bring people a warm and sweet Christmas with a unique romantic atmosphere to greet the coming New Year.
The tree was lit up by a kiss from a Chinese celebrity couple and a kiss from a Chinese actor and his son on Nov 21. It is continuously collecting kisses from passersby to help raise money for the Smile Angel Foundation, which helps Chinese children with birth defects.
KISS was first staged in Milan in 2010 and London in 2011, where during Christmas there is a tradition of kissing under a plant called mistletoe. Cocksedge has integrated some elements into KISS in Shanghai by obtaining inspiration from the city flower of Shanghai and combining it with the traditional mistletoe, the symbol of Christmas, thus blending Chinese with Western cultures to create something exclusive for the city of Shanghai.
The kisses will not only spark lights vertically on the tall Christmas tree but lights will also spread out horizontally on the trees beyond, reflecting the traditional architecture
“This light installation creates a beautiful festival sight with artistic inspiration and love. Lovers, friends or relatives can light up Christmas through the simple but powerful gesture of a kiss,” says Cocksedge.
In addition, Xintiandi presents a series of exciting festival performances on weekends, including French Art Birds Union’s grand stilts tour and French puppet shows.
A touch of glass in the Life Hub: Perhaps the city’s only glass Christmas tree is set in the central square of Life Hub, an open-space shopping area with abundant boutiques and restaurants.
The 6.5-meter-tall glass tree is made of more than 100 pieces of handmade triangle glass, boasting creativity in design and a spectacular visual effect, according to its creator, Shelly Xue, a renowned Chinese artist in glass design.
“Glass as a material features the characteristics of transparency, which means it works with the light and produces different shades of colors when the light varies,” Xue says.
“There are various designs on Christmas trees, and many of them shine at night, but not that brightly in the daytime. By choosing glass as the material, we hope the tree also shines during the day.”
The glass Christmas tree presents a green between emerald and olive, a color that Xue finally chose after testing a dozen shades of green, in order to make the tree compatible with the surroundings. LED lights were installed behind the glass.
Inside the triangles are numerous tiny glass beads, which were recycled from wasted glass, such as broken beer bottles, making the whole project an eco-design, she says.
Glass is seldom used in outdoor decorations, considering its fragility and safety risks. To avoid the shortcomings, Xue used tough glass, which is not easy to shatter, and the edge of the glass was polished to be sleek.
Xue got a doctoral degree in glass art in the United Kingdom and set up a glass studio at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art at Fudan University in 2007.
She and other artists teach glass art classes every weekend in December in the Life Hub. Children can learn how to make a Christmas gift with colorful glass beads.[db:内容2]