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Sign Of The Times: A Minimal Nativity Scene For A More Secular Xmas

Okay, we're about two months early on this one. But this thing is so abstract, you might as well throw it on the mantel and call it Halloween decor.

Sign Of The Times: A Minimal Nativity Scene For A More Secular Xmas

Let’s face it—lots of us are losing our religion. Many of us grew up in households that were decked out in religious artifacts, even if only for the holidays. And though many of us might eschew our religious beliefs, some of us still long for holiday family traditions. But do you truly see yourself with a full-on manger scene on your dining room table? How will you explain this to your Atheist buddies? What’s a lapsed Catholic to do?

Industrial designer Sebastian Bergne might have developed the Modernist’s happy medium. The Color Nativity is a set of seven hand-painted wood blocks that fit nicely in an accompanying wooden box. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Lincoln Logs. Set these blocks up just right, and you have yourself a bona fide nativity scene. The box transforms into a manger, and the set’s wooden divider becomes a minimalistic Star of Bethlehem.

"[The Color Nativity] is essentially an experiment to see if the characters are still recognizable even after they have been reduced to only their color and composition," Bergne tells Co. Design. "It is interesting to see that even people who might consider themselves to be without religion recognize most of the characters." We feel that the set could benefit from some block camels and block sheep. But hey, that’s just us.

This contemporary and irreverent display (note: lack of Jesus) could perhaps draw the ire of a few Catholic purists. But that’s not the designer’s intent. "I would be surprised if it raised eyebrows in the religious community," the designer says. "It totally respects and promotes Christian culture in a new and contemporary way."

The Color Nativity is available in a limited edition of six, at $215 each. But one at (shiny beacon of light not included).