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Sparkly Christmas for Gardens by the Bay

The Straits Times | Monday, Sep 1, 2014

Luminarie light sculptures, such as this one (above) displayed in Kobe, Japan, in 2007 will be set up around the festival ground in Gardens by the Bay in late November.

Just as families have their own holiday traditions, Gardens by the Bay has unveiled plans to introduce a new Christmas tradition to its gardens.

It has announced a million-dollar Christmas showcase which it hopes will become an annual event.

Christmas Wonderland, from Nov 29 to Jan 1 next year, will feature attractions never seen before in South-east Asia, such as handmade Luminarie light sculptures that will be flown in from south Italy and a traditional Dutch Spiegeltent, or large travelling "mirror tent".

The entire event will span more than 18,000 sq m, covering the gardens' main entrance, the Flower Dome and the Supertree Grove.

The gardens' director of programming Ong Chui Leng says: "We hope to bring a new tradition to the gardens that people can look forward to attending during the year-end holidays."

Admission will be free. The event is co-organised by events agency Blue Sky Events.

Luminarie light sculptures will greet visitors when they arrive. Inspired by Baroque architecture, 30 light installations, which range from arches to solo pieces, will be spread throughout the festival area.

Made with white wood and fitted with 95,000 coloured lightbulbs, they will be designed and built by Paulicelli Illuminations, a family-run business that began in the 19th century. These light sculptures have previously been showcased in cities such as Kobe, Paris and Istanbul.

The largest light structure, the Spalliera, which measures 17m high and 31m wide, is a crown of lights which will be housed within the Supertree Grove.

The light sculptures will also bring extra sparkle to the Christmas floral display in the Flower Dome.

Another highlight is the Spiegeltent in the Supertree Grove.

The tent is made of 1,000 pieces of wood, canvas, decorated mirrors and stained glass. Originally built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only a handful of the tents still exists.

The one in the gardens will be a first for Asia and will be transported from the Netherlands and assembled onsite.

The tent will offer visitors a family- style dining experience within its 18m-wide interior and can hold up to 400 diners. There are no details yet on the type of food that will be served.

There will also be a Festive Market consisting of 25 wooden huts where visitors can get Christmas goodies from crafts to food such as Mediterranean, German and Japanese cuisines.

Director of Blue Sky Events Sarah Martin compares the Festive Market with the annual Winter Wonderland Christmas market at Hyde Park in London, which is popular with locals and tourists. The market will run till Dec 21, from 2 to 11pm daily, with restaurants open from 5 to 11pm.

To add to the festive spirit, Christmas carollers will serenade visitors at the Casa Armonica, an illuminated gazebo nestled within the Supertree Grove.

The 12 Days Of Choir programme will feature adult and school choirs performing twice a night from Fridays to Sundays during the festival. The carolling sessions will run till Dec 28.

Christmas at Gardens by the Bay was previously limited to themed floral displays, concerts and activities such as storytelling. Last year, the gardens attracted 450,000 visitors during the Christmas period.

Ms Ong expects Christmas Wonderland to draw more people.

gurveenk@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 30, 2014
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