Veolia – Ongoing project II

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that the brief was somewhat modified and made more precise with features like the location and the size revealed. A significant detail concerns the themes covered by the installation: homelessness and shopping. None of our ideas treated of either subject, ergo we had to rework them completely.

In my case, I tried to bypass most Christmas clichés such as the Christmas tree and the snowman by finding new and overlooked perspectives on the celebration.

My first idea, titled ‘Write me a letter’, is an attempt to share a bit of Christmas with a person without family or shelter. I took inspiration from the tree of souls in the film Avatar by James Cameron, a willow tree which connects the living to the dead through its branches. ‘Write me a letter’ is an electroluminescent willow tree made of plastic with a metal structure and lights running through it. Each donation will result in a light show, possibly projection mapping, and the distribution of a Christmas card. Should they chose, people can write a message to a homeless person and attach it to the branches of the tree. It will be collected and delivered at the end of the event.


My second concept is from the Christmas song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ with a new species of bird introduced in each verse (a partridge, two turtle doves, three French hens…). I had a look at the Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldis’ work and, more importantly, his project ‘Archetipo’, a phantom classical courtyard made of wire mesh for a royal event in Abu Dhabi.

I aim to create an immersive electroluminescent bird aviary made of plastic featuring the birds mentioned in the song. I had a brief look at the construction process of birds nests, other artists work on nest-like structures and birds sculpted of various materials. Regarding the interaction linked to a donation, light movement such as fluttering wings along with sounds is a possibility.


Lastly, ‘The Star of London’ is an electroluminescent poinsettia tree. The poinsettia is a type of flower, known as the December birth flower, symbolizes good cheer and success and is said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration. It is also the symbol of the star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to Jesus.
Unlike the trunk that would ideally be permanently lit up, thousands of flowers made of thin layers of rigid plastic require a donation to bloom. One by one, they blossom if the contributions are abundant and wilt if they’re scarce.

Those ideas are still very representative of Christmas and two of them are trees, but I tried approaching the subject a different way by finding other traditions and symbols.
We presented them to the head of the 3D workshops and two persons from Veolia. They gave us feedback on their preferred idea and the feasibility of the concepts. Overall, they liked ‘The Star of London’ and the idea of having people write letters to homeless people. We now have to work into one idea for our upcoming pitch at Veolia, as well as make a physical representation of said idea.

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