The startling Yuletide sight stands right next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the heart of western Berlin on Breitscheidplatz.
The “Traffic Tree” – the name being a nod to the hectic run up to Christmas – was created by 36-year-old artist Thomas Plattner, who specialises in creating sculptures from found objects. So, instead of traditional holiday baubles and tinsel, battered toys and discarded household items dangle from the tree’s scrap metal branches.
It has been christened the “ugliest” in Germany by the country’s biggest newspaper, Bild.
A passing pensioner told The Local the tree was “no, not good at all. In fact, it’s a disgrace.”
To top off what Plattner calls a “parody of a normal Christmas tree,” the seven tonne sculpture has been fitted with several massive flame throwers, which blast flames into the sky every 30 minutes. When the tree isn’t alight, however, old traffic lights provide a festive illumination.
“It’s so ugly,” said a Berlin resident identifying herself as Mrs Calmez. “Christmas trees are supposed to be beautiful, the others are beautiful why isn’t this one?”
But according to the artist, the tree “reflects the throwaway nature of our society” and is supposed to be food for thought for the swarms of Christmas shoppers passing by it.
And at least one person in Berlin, a student named Javier, seemed more receptive to the trashy tannenbaum.
“I think it’s awesome that you can make a Christmas tree from leftovers. It’s creative, arty and beautiful,” he told The Local.
The “Traffic Tree” isn’t the first controversial Christmas tree to stand on Breitscheidplatz, as last year an inflatable creation was unveiled in the same place.
Jessica Ware ([email protected])