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It’s mid-November, which can only mean one thing… it’s time for our new Christmas window display at not just a shop to be installed!

This year’s festive window display is by illustrator and UAL graduate Giada Maestra. Giada has brought to life her winning Tate x UAL Christmas card design, “Feeling Like a Child“.

We asked Giada a few questions about her window display. Sit back and enjoy what she has to tell us about her festive design!

What was the inspiration behind the design for the window display?

The inspiration behind Feeling like a Child is a personal experience that goes back to a year ago. I was at my parent’s house for Christmas and one night there was a big snowfall that covered all my hometown in white. There is something magical when this happens, especially during Christmas. It also reminds me a lot of my childhood, when I used to spend the weekends in the mountains with my family, sledging and playing with the snow.

Have you ever worked creating a window display before?

This is my first window display ever! And it feels amazing! I must admit that I felt a bit scared at first, because of the great responsibility they gave to me, but the emotion and the curiosity to try something totally new, prevailed over any uncertainty. It’s been a challenge for sure, I had to use different surfaces, proportions, balances and materials. I had so much fun!

How does it feel to have your work displayed in such a prime location in central London?

I just feel so grateful for this opportunity! Holborn is such a central location where a lot of people go to work, to study, but also for pleasure. That means that my work will be seen by so many people and maybe some of them will remember it.

What was the process of designing the window display like?

As I said before, it’s been a great challenge! I had to understand a new surface, see how the colour reacts to it and how long does it take to dry, experiment with different techniques in a very short time. I wanted to give a proper representation to the original drawing, without distorting it: I tried to keep the layers, the bright colours and the different textures working with stencils and disparate materials.

I have to thank the not just a shop team for being so encouraging and helpful from the very beginning of this journey and my friend and professional set designer, Marta Zen, for their support.

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

I would like people to feel festive, joyful…like a child during Christmas!

What is the most inspiring place you’ve been to in London?

There are a lot of places in London that I found very inspiring really, but if I have to choose, I recently discovered a very nice bookshop near Russel Square. It is one of these small, messy and cosy places, where the librarian knows everything and can suggest exactly what you were looking for, like in movies. The name is Judd Books and they only sell second-hand books.

Another place that I love is Hampstead Heath Park: every time I go there is a breath of fresh air. What inspires me the most about this place is the nature with its thousand colours and shapes, and the people you can meet, especially those who walk their dogs.

What advice would you give to students wanting to run their own business?

Don’t give up! Be curious, passionate, but also patient with yourself.

Take part in contests, webinars, events where you can meet new people that are interested/work within the same field. There are a lot of organisations, like the AOI (Association of Illustrators), for one thing, that can help you understand your business better.

Finally, what is your favourite thing about the festive season?

I’ll give you my favourite three things about the festive season:

-The amazing smell of my mother’s cookies flooding the whole house.

-Getting together with family and friends.

-Watching Christmas movies with a fluffy blanket, while drinking a very hot cup of cinnamon tea.

Next time you are out and about in Holborn, make sure to come see Giada’s beautiful, festive window display!