Kokina is the quintessential new year’s flower arrangement in Istanbul. It looks like mistletoe but in fact there is a lot of work behind it. Clusters of the foraged red berries of the smilax plant are sewn on to green branches with the belief they bring good luck. We talk to Enis Karavil who transformed the arrangement into a large Christmas tree for Sanayi313.

What is the motivation behind your take on the Christmas tree?

I’m inspired by the celebrations, the characteristic lights and the feeling of getting together around it.

Why is Sanayi313’s Christmas tree upside down?

Sanayi313 is a place that embraces opposites that work well together. Old and new, feminine and masculine, black and white… What I mean to say is an upside-down Christmas tree is not that unusual to have here.

This year’s Christmas tree is made only of kokina. What does kokina mean to you?

I wanted to try a different take on our traditional upside-down tree and decided to go for the world’s largest kokina bunch. The kokina tradition is inherited from Istanbul’s Greek community. Kokina means red in the local Greek language and is believed to bring luck and joy.

Any wishes for the new year?

A large serving of happiness and luck for everyone!