As cities get into the festive spirit, they seem to compete in ostentatiousness while decorating of their streets for Christmas. There is a reason why something bright and gaudy is often described as being “lit up like a Christmas tree.” While these bright colors and shiny surfaces may be seen as somewhat tacky throughout most of the year, our inner designer feels a little more generous when it comes to Christmas time.
Italian architect Teresa Sapey was invited by Madrid’s city council to create the lighting display for Calle Serrano. Calle Serrano is where the well-to-do in Madrid go to do their shopping, so the displays are important to get everyone into the mood to drop some cash. Sapey wanted to give the usually dull and grey street a bright and cheerful makeover. She did this by hanging rows upon rows of LEDs strung in circles over the street. The display is made up of circles within circles, each with a different color, creating a strikingly graphic display that looks like it comes straight out of the sixties. The lights have been strung on wire frames and so shine through one another. The mesmerizing effect of the display, “like a circle in a spiral” seems to go on forever into the distance. When viewed from a distance, the display looks like a cloud of light has descended from the heavens. LEDs were essential in making these displays visible from both sides, as well as saving on the city’s electric bill.
Sapey has created the perfect lighting display for the season. The simplicity of the design makes for a stunning display that is both beautiful and festive. Those Madrilenians must have been very good boys and girls this year.