Sydney calls for artists and designers to submit ideas for city Christmas lights

Dezeen promotion: Sydney invites artists and designers to submit concepts for its city-wide Christmas decorations, including lighting, large-scale outdoor installations and a tree in Martin Place (+ slideshow).

The City of Sydney asks artists and designers to respond to an expression of interest for festive trees, decorations and installations that will evolve over five years, allowing them to be installed annually from 2017 to 2021.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations

Ideas should respond to the summer heat and develop a new way for the city to celebrate in the warmer climate.

Different zones within the city will become a focus each year, so the concept must be adaptable to various locations. Consideration should also be given to sustainable practices, including recycling, repurposing and energy-saving lighting.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations

Proposals are welcome from design and/or artist-led teams, working independently or in collaboration with other design and delivery specialists who will to look after fabrication and manufacture.

Sydney Christmas is an annual five-week programme that usually includes 10 city-produced events, such as concerts and choirs, and over 100 events.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations

Since 1961, the start of Sydney's Christmas celebrations have been marked by the Lord Mayor lighting the city's main Christmas tree. In 1971, this tree moved to Martin Place.

The expression of interest is now open and closes close on 10 May 2016. Applicants can register now on The City of Sydney electronic tendering.

Read on for more information from the organisers:


We are looking for a creative and interactive approach to the iconic Christmas tree in Martin Place, as well as lighting and outdoor decorations and major installations throughout the city, including the newly opened George Street and significant spots in the inner suburbs. The design will span from 2017 to 2021.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations
Pitt St Mall Christmas lights

From the flagship tree to the community concerts and other associated events, we see the future of Sydney Christmas as immersive and memorable. Sydney Christmas should feel festive to our residents, but also captivate crowds internationally. While many of our residents cherish traditions at this time of year, we are looking for a contemporary and technologically innovative vision that reflects our diverse city.

High quality public spaces, public furniture and lighting are essential to civic revitalisation and Christmas time is an opportunity for the public to spend more time in vibrant, meaningful spaces.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations
Martin Place Christmas concert

The concept should have impact in the summer heat and glisten at after the sun sets. Each year, Sydney Christmas will target specific zones in the city, increasing visitation. As such, the concept should be malleable and adapt to new scenic elements, activations and events. We're looking for all decorative elements to reflect an identifiable character, but also stand alone as objects of beauty.

For some, Sydney Christmas is an outdoor concert on a balmy night. Others may like to participate more, so proposals should suggest technology that ensures public engagement. Equally, consideration should be given to sustainable practices, including recycling, repurposing and energy saving lighting.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations
Martin Place Christmas concert

We welcome design and/or artist-led teams working independently or in collaboration with other design and delivery specialists (for example, to look after fabrication and manufacture). Proposals from all disciplines are welcome, as the brief spans creative direction, an understanding of site-specific installation, maintenance and storage of materials and more.

The City of Sydney works with partners, businesses and stakeholders to encourage footfall in the city centre, create business opportunities for retailers and demonstrate design excellence.

The City of Sydney Christmas decorations
Sydney at Christmas in 2015

Important dates

Stage One: Expression of Interest (EOI)

Propose an outstanding idea that fulfils the intentions for this brief. Concept development is most important at this point. The City will be shortlisting up to five bidders that satisfy the evaluation criteria to proceed to Stage 2, in which they'll be invited to respond to a Request for Tender (RFT).

Open: Tuesday 15 March 2016
Close: Tuesday 10 May 2016

Stage Two: Request for Tender (RFT)

Up to five bidders will be shortlisted by the evaluation panel to respond to a RFT and paid $10,000 each to develop their proposal. In addition to further detail on the creative concept, the RFT will include a plan for the manufacture, installation, dismantle and storage of materials, major installations and decorations. This stage allows all shortlisted bidders to refine their Stage 1 proposal.

Anticipated Dates:
Open: Tuesday 31 May 2016
Close: Tuesday 12 July 2016

Stage Three: Implementation and Delivery

Upon acceptance of the tender and the recommended bidder's proposal by the City, the bidder and/or team, will enter into an agreement with the City and begin concept development.

Enquiries should be directed to the Tendering Officer only. Enquiries may be submitted by either:

- the online forum accessed at www.tenderlink.com/cityofsydney
- e-mail to the council's tendering officer as follows:

Stefanie Makaroff
Tel: 02 9246 7623
[email protected]

To apply for this expression of interest, you need to first register for City of Sydney electronic tendering: www.tenderlink.com/cityofsydney/

The City has been on a journey to transform the look and feel of the City centre over the last eight years. High quality public spaces, public furniture and lighting are essential to this civic revitalisation and Christmas time is an opportunity for the public to spend more time in vibrant, meaningful spaces.

www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au