London Food & Culture

Granary Square’s Xmas tree 2019: as intriguing as ever

Artist David Batchelor celebrates the human experience of the modern urban environment using light and colour

Sure, our favourite was the one made from 365 sledges. But each year it’s safe to say Granary Square puts a little more thought into its festive tree than many more established parts of the capital.

So, although this weekend sees an, um, avalanche of yuletide activities around London, don’t miss the priapic number standing proud in Granary Square. (You could combine it with checking out some of the latest restaurants nearby like Lina Stores, Arabica or Sons & Daughters, too).

This year the ‘tree’ is the brainchild of Dundee-born artist David Batchelor, whose previous works have included Chromolocomotion at St Pancras International and 10 Silhouettes at Gloucester Road Tube station. Batchelor uses light and colour to draw on what he calls “the human experience of the modern urban environment”.

His latest, King’s Xmas 2019, is an undeniably striking take on the traditional Christmas pine, a celebration of his “love of colour, industrial materials and geometry”. Using scaffolding and LED lights he’s created a 13.5-metre-high sculpture that transforms itself from day to night.


By day the scaffold structure is at home in its environment and surroundings, a low-key reference to the on-going development at King’s Cross.

But by night – and here’s the clever bit – the outline of a Christmas tree is revealed, floating like a child’s drawing. And that’s when you should whip your phone out for the best shot.

Speaking of which, we were also pretty impressed the other day when we swung by the decorations in Coal Drops Yard, which this year riffs on the natural beauty of the Northern Lights. Something of a fluorescent winter wonderland, it’s sprinkled with colourful flocked neon trees and illuminated with an array of multicoloured lights.

And of course there are lots of Christmas markets and special retailer events both here and across King’s Cross, including the Independent Label vinyl fair (30th Nov), as well as Christmas under the Canopy, the Mexican Christmas Market (6th-8th Dec) and more.

The King’s Xmas 2019 tree is in situ from now until 2nd January 2020. For the full Xmas programme head here.

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