Adorned and cherished in a warm home for weeks, come January 6 the ceremonial Christmas tree finds itself unceremoniously turned out into the cold. In London alone, it is estimated that most of the 976,000 Christmas trees in the capital will be simply thrown away - left in a laneway, shoved in a rubbish bin, dumped on a street corner - its twinkling lights and Alpine scents a distant memory.
For Christmas 2010 Gallery Libby Sellers and the designer Fabien Cappello offered an alternative after-life for your tree (or for one of London's many abandoned trees if you don't have a tree to up-cycle). 'The Christmas Tree Project' - a continuation of Cappello's graduation work from the Design Products MA at the Royal College of Art in 2009 - saw abandoned and previously loved trees from across the Greater London area being regenerated into handsome stools with the trunk and branches forming the seat and legs respectively.
'The Christmas Tree Project' underscored Cappello's interest in using regionally sourced materials and manufacturing processes as a form of design cartography. As part of Experimenta 2009 he created an inventory of the skills and knowledge of local manufacturers, makers and craftsmen in Odivelas, a suburban area in Lisbon, which was then mapped onto a set of ceramic vessels to demonstrate that every individual maker is a step in a larger creative process. While a 2010 residency at the Foundation Claudio Buziol, Venice - curated by Martino Gamper - saw Cappello research the role of the vernacular in Venetian arts and crafts, resulting in site-specific glass installations throughout the city.
'The Christmas Tree Project' with Gallery Libby Sellers was a poetic continuation of Cappello's interests and offered the collector a chance to own his unique and individualized response to the trees collected.