Friday, December 12, 2008

Saks Fifth Avenue Snowflake Show

Just in time for the holidays, 50 huge snowflakes lit by LEDs appear annually on the landmark Saks Fifth Avenue façade in Manhattan. Set to an original rendition of “Carol of the Bells,” the snowflake show, which opens each November, runs for two minutes every half hour throughout the evenings during the holidays.

The project was designed by American Christmas Decorations Inc., and lighting consultants Focus Lighting, led by Paul Gregory. Philips Lighting, the event sponsor, worked in collaboration with Permlight Products on the system. The LEDs are used in fourteen 20' snowflakes and thirty-six 8' snowflakes. Illuminated by 72,000 LEDs, the snowflakes feature more than 24,000 linear feet of lighting tied to 8,000 linear feet of steel.

The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store is directly opposite Rockefeller Center. One of the most famous holiday sights in "Rock Center" is the herald angels placed along the Channel Gardens, which separate the French and British Empire Buildings of Rockefeller Center (appropriately named after the English Channel). These angels are wire-sculpted figures that have decorated Rock Center during the holidays since 1954.

Note: The stylized sun applied to the British Empire building alludes to the saying, "The sun never sets on the British Empire," and original tenants of La Maison Française included Baccarat crystal, Mumm's champagne, Les Parfums de Molyneux, the French consulate and the remarkable Librairie de France).

The snowflakes that decorate Saks Fifth Avenue are prominent in the background of this photo of the Channel Gardens Herald Angels.

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