The Electric Nemeton

Sam Jacob Studio, London, 2020



Photography by Jim Stephenson     Download Original

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The Electric Nemeton draws on the origins of the Christmas tree tradition, referencing the forest groves that acted as gathering places in Celtic culture

Reimagined with geometry, colour and light it is an abstract forest grove. Part tree, part spaceframe, creating a space to walk through, a stage for social life and a sculptural object.

Formed by modular tree-like pyramids on metal column-trunks. The tree canopy is a timber structure with stretched net panels. Lighting effects accentuate the structure’s translucent qualities.

These simple materials - scaffold net, timber joists, galvanised steel - expose its construction. Their layering creates something more magical. As you move around, the structure is sometimes translucent, sometimes more solid. Colours fade and bleed from one to another.

As a big, elevated structurally expressive roof, it creates a space for things to happen underneath. Borrowing from the engineered sheds of Kings Cross and St Pancras stations nearby, the big roof is a social gesture.

The Electric Nemeton is a take on the traditions of merging architecture and nature around the winter solstice - from the palm leaves used in ancient Egypt and Rome, the druidic use of mistletoe and fir trees we bring into our homes. Here, trees become a kind of architecture themselves, but also architecture with forest-like qualities.

As public space has taken on new significances during Covid-19, the Electric Nemeton contributes a little more to the possibilities of winter life outdoors. A structure that itself is an event, somewhere to explore and a platform for open ended use.

Like all winter tree traditions whose symbolism is intended to ward off the darkness and act as a gesture of hope for the return of the sun, the Electric Nemeton also expresses an idea of hope for the return of our social and public lives.

Annual CO2 emissions data was not provided.


  • Begun: Nov 2020
  • Completed: Nov 2020
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Funding: private
  • Address: Granary Square, Kings Cross, London, N1, United Kingdom

Professional Team