NOMA logs on for Christmas tree art installation that will be recycled to build new local pub

A uniquely designed 11m Christmas tree designed by leading Hungarian architects has been commissioned by NOMA to launch Manchester’s first new public square this century.

Sitting at the centre of Sadler’s Yard the bespoke art installation weights almost 8 tonnes and will be fully recycled after Christmas and used to construct The Pilcrow, a new pub being built by hand on site. Local volunteers will work together to build the pub by hand in a nod to the community spirit under-pinning the site’s heritage.

The branches of the tree are formed of sawn logs stacked in a spiral formation around a conical base frame, using pine and oak. The installation, which includes approximately 8m2 of wood and 4.5 tons of metal plates, took three weeks to prepare in Hungary and five days to build in Manchester. 

Its designers Hello Wood are one of Europe’s most renowned up-and-coming architecture practices.

The logs will be sawn in to a variety of sizes and cross sections in order to provide as many possibilities for future use. Some of the material will be used as work benches, with other parts used for furniture, flooring, wall coverings and traditional pub games.   

The Pilcrow will be a temporary structure that will move around the NOMA neighbourhood, offering people the chance to take part in the construction process itself and learn new skills at each stage of development. The structure will host a series of free workshops where volunteers can learn a new skill and build part of the pub themselves.

Aside from the base build of the structure, every element of the pub will be crafted using traditional skills and local labour. This will include everything from the glasses that will hold the beer to the bell that will call last orders.

David Raday, Designer and Co-Founder of Hello Woodsaid: “It was an inspiring challenge to design and build a Christmas installation that is not only visually attractive and comprehensible for the wider public but also connects to a complex architectural and cultural project by re-using every element of the installation for the Pilcrow Pub project.

“We hope this tree will become a symbol for the power of community building during the Christmas holidays and later on in its new form when used in the pub.”

David Pringle, director of NOMA at The Co-operative Group, said: “We were keen to have something unique that also underpinned our values around community and sustainability and we’re thrilled to have such an inventive installation to celebrate the launch of Manchester’s new public square. The Hello Wood tree and subsequent Pilcrow project fits in with our vision for Sadler’s Yard as a multi-purpose space for a range of attractions specifically for local people.”

Joe Hartley, head maker at The Pilcrow said: “We were really keen to do something at Sadler’s Yard that truly embodies the spirit of The Pilcrow project and we believe that Hello Wood’s installation does exactly that.

“A visually stunning tree, there is nothing else like it in Manchester, with the best part being that once Christmas is over, we’ll be able to use the wood for the build of the pub. This is very much a community tree and we hope that everyone will enjoy it both in its initial form and when it becomes part of the pub itself.”