“Joy to the world”
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is more than just a symbol of Christmas for New Yorkers alone. Through television and film it has become one of the defining images of Christmas around the globe. This year’s “Christmas in Rockefeller Center“ featured the lighting of New York’s iconic tree as well as performances by Aretha Franklin, Michael Bublé, Shakira, Alica Keys, Barry Manilow, the Muppets and the Rockettes – with global media attention.
While Aretha Franklin was soulfully performing her “Joy to the world” the whole Swarovski “Star Team” was getting more and more jittery as the big moment came closer and closer when, for the first time, the star would sparkle the count-down to light the world’s most famous Christmas tree, crowning it with its new and especially designed lighting enhancement. Despite less-than-perfect weather thousands waited for that moment on the streets while millions were following the extravaganza on TV. It all went perfectly! Whew!!
Symbol of light
In 2004 Swarovski commissioned Michael Hammers to create “The Swarovski Star” and this year it was Michael being asked once again by Swarovski to work on the star. Michael used additional lighting technology and customized lighting control, his team worked 1,200 hours to bring his artistic vision to full fruition: “The Swarovski Star hovers silently, ever-shining above the tree, the star reigns over Rockefeller Plaza adorning New York and its holiday season” says Michael.
The nine-and-a-half foot and now 750 pound crystal star with its hidden secrets of 25,000 Swarovski crystals, their 1,000,0000 facets and 720 of both the most energy efficient and brilliant LED’s has become the symbol of light of Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
“The Christmas star has been described as a comet for many, many years” Michael says, “and from the very beginning my artistic vision was based on the concept of a comet. A comet is only visible of the sun’s light; otherwise it just exists out of ice molecules and dust. This magical transformation makes a comet visible to the human eye and perceptible to the soul. And on earth only Swarovski crystals have this intrinsic power and heavenly magic!”
When, during the many nights in his studio and assisted only by his engineer Florian, Michael created the main lighting sceneries just by watching the prepared LED-panels, with the original star always stays perfectly packed and stored in New York City throughout the year, it felt like he was peacefully watching the Christmassy firmament: “Florian and I got our inspiration again and again by listening to the “Sinfonia” of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, which opens the second part dedicated to the 'The Annunciation to the Shepherds’.”
If you aren’t familiar with that music, take a quick listen here. I went to see the tree and the star and had this music in my earphones. It makes such a difference knowing the artist´s inspiration. It takes you far beyond.
The Swarovski Star has topped the tree the sixth season now and crowned it on its 75th anniversary in 2007. In 2007 and 2008 its one-to-one replica was displayed on Saks’ ground floor but this year the world’s most famous Christmas tree and its unique crystal star have truly become one.
And if you miss to see it this season, don’t worry: There’ll be plenty more to come!