Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Even as sustainability goes mainstream, eco-friendly Christmas trees have struggled to find their way into American homes. Blame the unbeatable allure of cutting down a tree, blame the scent of spruce needles, blame tradition. And blame the ghastly appearance of most sustainable alternatives. Not even the most tightly embracing tree-hugger wants to put presents beneath a contraption of coat hangers and light bulbs.
But there's no reason artificial, recycled Christmas trees can't be beautiful.
In Hasselt, a small Belgian city otherwise known for having a free transit system, local designers MOOZ built a glowing kerstboom for the town center out of discarded crockery. Five thousand cups, bowls and plates donated by residents make up the 30-foot "tree."
"We decorated the tree with objects which would otherwise have remained invisible," MOOZ designers Inge Vanluyd and Stefan Vanbergen wrote in their DesignBoom submission.
The "tree" will remain in Hasselt until January 6th.
All images courtesy of MOOZ, via DesignBoom.