Jingle bells and a whole lot of trees. Ten to be exact!

Step aside traditional Christmas trees!  This year, in true designer style, Temasek Polytechnic is doing away with the old and ushering in the New Year with 10 avant-garde trees made out of wooden chairs, bottles and mirrors. Yes, you heard right. No, you’re not losing your mind.

The Stained Glass Tree, The Spikey Tree, The Spiral Tree, Strong Bonds, The ‘Christmess’ Dinner, The Bottle Tree, With love this Christmas, Christmas Reflections, Memories and The Golden Tree – these are the 10 trees you will find adorning the Sentosa Boardwalk in ‘The Christmas Tree Project’.

My verdict – Yule love it!

Now before you think I’ve gone officially mental, let me tell you more about ‘The Christmas Tree Project’. Jointly presented by Sentosa and Temasek Polytechnic, this project brings together the creative minds of 40 students and staff from the School of Design who conceptualised and built the trees from scratch.

Tasked with creating unconventional Christmas trees never seen before, these budding designers rose to the challenge and produced 10 dashing Christmas trees. This process was no easy feat. While designing comes as second nature to them, constructing the tree itself was a difficult task. Yet, the teams took this in their stride and their wonderful creations speak for itself. Their efforts were not in vain either as the Christmas trees were adopted by several companies. All proceeds collected went to the Canossaville Children’s Home, a residential and student care for the socially disadvantaged children.

Christmas trees built for a good cause and a feast for the eyes – ‘Tis the season to be jolly indeed!

I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with some of the designers from ‘The Christmas Tree Project’. As expected, the meetings left me speechless. I was blown away by the intricate process that went on behind designing these trees. If you think the yearly affair of putting up your Christmas tree is a chore, think again! The hard work, long hours and brain cells that went into this project are definitely applause-worthy!

The Bottle Tree

Christmas is about bringing light and hope into the lives of others and that’s exactly what this team seek to accomplish when they designed The Bottle Tree. The team comprising of Digital Film & Television students Rudy Tan, Norazilah Bte Md Amin, Susi Haryani Bte Sutara, Nur Syafiqah Bte Mustakim, Nur Syafiqah Bte Farid and Taqiyah Iman Bte Junaidi definitely shed some light into my life when they shared with me the mechanics behind The Bottle Tree. Made out of plastic bottles filled with water, fluorescent ink, and other chemicals, The Bottle Tree aimed to be the brightest display in the room. And boy did it shine bright like a diamond! The Bottle Tree is easily one of the first trees that would catch your attention with its brightly coloured bottles.

The interview with the team revealed the inspiration behind The Bottle Tree – LOL otherwise known as Liter of Light (yes, LOLs did ensue). For those of you who don’t know, LOL is a global movement which aims to provide ecologically and economically sustainable source of light to households living in poverty. This is done using simple bottle bulbs which are made out of plastic bottles filled with water and bleach. In daylight, the water inside the bottle would refract light creating a ‘light bulb’ effect. The Bottle Tree was designed based on this invention. However, it was not as straightforward as it seemed revealed Rudy Tan.

The confident and well-spoken student shared the team’s experience of improvising the bottle bulbs since their tree was kept under the shade. “What followed was an accident; we were cracking our heads on how to get our tree to shine as brightly under the shade using UV light when one of our highlighters dropped and out spilled liquid so bright, the floor glowed!”

“In the Pelikan we trust!” added teammate Nur Syafiqah. Once the team discovered their secret ingredient, the next challenge was mixing the florescent ink to get colours of the right consistency. “It sure felt like we became overnight chemists mixing ink like chemicals” remarked Norazilah, “Going home with glow in the dark hands became a norm.”

The team attributed the success of The Bottle Tree to their lecturer Mr Wayne Yeo (shoutout to Mr Yeo!). “We are very thankful for Mr Yeo’s support throughout the entire process” remarked Rudy, “We couldn’t have done this without him.” Nor each other might I add! Listening to the team recall fondly the months spent working on The Bottle Tree, I couldn’t help but smile at how natural and in sync they seemed to be with one another.

As the interview winds down I had to ask them one last pressing question. Any plans to spend the holidays together? Of course they reply in unison, just without a Christmas tree! “I think we won’t be assembling trees for a while” responds Rudy to which a hearty laughter ensues.

If you’re heading out to get a tree to decorate and brighten the holiday spirit in your home but want to do something unique and outstanding instead this year, you know where to go for inspiration!

‘The Christmas Tree Project’ will be displayed at the Sentosa Boardwalk promontory from 2 December to 1 January, all day. No island admission required. Get ready to be dazzled and wowed by the 10 awesome trees!

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