If Jesus is your homeboy, you can share a bit of religious flair this holiday season without offending any Christian on your list. The Minimal Nativity Set is a contemporary take on the bible-based scene, employing beech wood or brass blocks inscribed with each scene member’s name (Donkey, Joseph, Baby Jesus, etc.) to stand in for the traditional figurines. Created by French artist and designer Émilie Voirin, the blocks still represent the story and take place around the crib, but the characters have no skin color or features, leaving it up to people’s imagination and personal beliefs.
As a child, Voirin used to wonder why the baby Jesus under her Christmas tree was blonde and why Mary was wearing a blue dress. She says of the design: “For many years, I made Minimal Nativity Sets by collecting abandoned pieces of wood around the workshop. Now I have decided to produce the sets professionally and I have found good local carpenters to help me produce the sets. I have chosen a nice beech wood and the sets are handcrafted with a lot of care and love from my studio in London.”
She’s now selling the sets in beech wood or limited-edition brass for $40 through her already-funded Kickstarter campaign. The monies raised will also go toward her project to produce a life-sized installation of the nativity set in London’s historic Southwark Cathedral. Learn more about the Minimal Nativity Set in the video and picture gallery below.
Images via Émilie Voirin