Earlier this week we teased an image of this crazy Christmas tree in Xintiandi, an immersive, multi-media experience entitled Rolling X.

Stretching 15 meters tall, built of nine tons of steel, and encased in a globe of 400 acrylic panels strung with 1,000 meters of LED lighting, this xmas mega-structure is the product of Shanghai-based creative studio Dogma Labs, their largest project to date. I swung by late in their construction of this beast, and it was pretty hectic — a last minute storm threatened to short the system. After the official opening, one of Dogma’s founders had to stay home with a z-pak to get back up to speed.

But it’s up now, blaring an interactive light show, gentle ambient music (except for when Dogma is on site DJing Aphex Twin from the control center), and generating queues of children and parents waiting for their chance to take the 15-meter slide that runs from the tree’s apex down to a ball pit at the base.

We caught up with Dogma’s Vivian Xu and Benjamin Bacon for some more insight into how a holiday megalith like this comes into being:

Vivian Xu

Can you give a basic description of Dogma? What do you do, and how does this project tie in?

Benjamin Bacon: The concept behind it is a space where we — Vivian and I — can both focus on personal works, explorations, and experiments, along with working on different types of commercial projects that we see as being creative, different from normal commercial work. We’re very interested in both product design and also stage design, set design — that’s where we’re heading. But Dogma is a personal space for the two of us to explore topics that interest us, such as trans-humanism, wearables, science, technology, music… it’s a pretty open concept. I guess it’s more our personal exploration space than it is a platform.

When did you first get this commission? How did you conceive of the project at the beginning?

Vivian Xu: We first were introduced to this project in April when we were approached to be considered as one of the competing design studios for this bid. We put together a team of interaction designers and architects and in the end, found out in August that we won the bid with our snow globe proposal. The project was conceived as a collective effort, where each team worked on their own specialty.

 

What were some of the biggest technical challenges you had to solve?

Vivian Xu: I can only speak for the construction side, since I was mainly in charge of coordinating that with the design teams. We are a young studio, and this was the first large scale construction project we had done. I think this would not have been possible without the support of our amazing construction team led by EMCC. It was an amazing learning experience by Dogma working side by side with good people and true professionals.

What’s next for Dogma?

Benjamin Bacon: The next few months is about working on personal projects. I’ve got a double LP I’m trying to put out, and some art exhibitions, and Vivian’s working on a residency in Australia. We’re gonna be setting up a new studio and office space in Shanghai, but mainly we’re working on some personal projects at first. Going forward, we’re looking at a few more large installations in a couple of different Chinese cities besides Shanghai.