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Is this the best Christmas window display of 2015?

A stunning mechanical model of the solar system forms the centrepiece of the display

A stunning mechanical model of the solar system forms the centrepiece of the display

Every Christmas, the big department stores of the world compete to create the most eye-catching, talked-about window display designs (opens in new tab). And iconic London store Selfridges – one of the few retailers to get its own TV drama series (opens in new tab) – is no exception.

This year Selfridges has tried to get the edge on the competition by bringing in SFX company Artem (opens in new tab). With 27 years of experience, Artem have an impeccable pedigree; most recently working on Macbeth and In the Heart of the Sea, and creating 3D printed props for Ex-Machina and Halo 4.

For this year's Selfridges display, Artem has created a stunning mechanical model of the solar system, which forms the centrepiece of a cosmos-themed window display. The 2.8m gold and chrome model will rotate all day, every day until the New Year, with each of the planets orbiting independently.

Can other UK retailers beat this?

Can other UK retailers beat this?

Artem's computer-aided design (CAD) software enabled the mechanics and components of the model to be designed alongside each other, explains Ritchie Beacham-Paterson, Artem supervisor on the project.

"Aside from the narrow timeframes, one of the biggest challenges was to create a model of such size and scale that could work reliably and smoothly without compromising its visual impact.

"It was therefore crucial that we had all aspects of, not just the aesthetics, but also the precise workings of this, locked off at a very early stage."

The project was completed in just eight weeks from the first designs to the final installation.

Selfridges arranged for a film crew to record each stage of the construction by installing a series of time-lapse cameras within Artem’s workshop and during the installation itself – you can watch the video below.

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.