19 November 2015
Designed by Hirst – a long time friend of the hotel – The Connaught’s inaugural Christmas tree stands at over 30ft tall. Unveiled today outside the hotel in Mayfair, the decorated Norway Spruce draws inspiration from the sense of hope derived from the power of science and medicine, one of Hirst's most enduring themes. The tree is dressed with over 300 decorations, including a series of festively reimagined medical instruments, snowmen formed of giant pills, as well as traditional white doves – a symbol of hope, beauty and fragility – and garlands of pink sausages, playfully reflecting the idea of Christmas being a time of plenty.
Commenting on the tree, Hirst said: 'The Christmas tree is a celebration of togetherness, a joyful symbol of hope and love. For the decorations, I wanted to reference some of the amazing things that give us hope in the world today.'
Paddy McKillen co-owner of the Connaught stated: ‘We were thrilled that Damien jumped to the challenge to create our first Connaught Christmas Tree. We have a longstanding friendship since he created his amazing butterfly Kaleidoscope paintings for the Connaught’s Hélène Darroze restaurant. I really hope this tree will be enjoyed by our guests, our Mayfair neighbours and the whole of London.’
Art plays a key role at the Connaught and the hotel has amassed a considerable collection over its 168-year history, from Sir Peter Lely and William Wyld to Julian Opie, and Hirst. Guests of the Connaught have long enjoyed the hotel’s relationship with the artist, with two site-specific butterfly ‘Kaleidoscope’ paintings by the artist installed within the two-Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze at the Connaught since 2009.