Art meets horticulture with ikebana, the calming art of Japanese flower arrangement


Back in February, Frida kim, one of London’s most sought-after floral designers, was already full through October with orders for dinners, parties and private events across the city and beyond. At the end of March, all of those jobs, like those of almost every event florist in the country, were canceled.

Fortunately, she also has several private clients and has been able to work on her own, beautifying homes with her touching displays that seem to fall somewhere between floristry and decorative art. “I always strive for harmony and elegance,” explains Kim, who often uses a single branch or stem coming out of a sleek bowl.

“Sometimes when I see a really nice single rod, it can talk about our current situation – you can’t brag, you can’t go anywhere, there’s all this worry for the whole world.”

It’s a metaphor that over the summer months seemed to come to life when she started sharing fascinating Instagram flicks of floating stems from an old man’s beard, dried ferns or herbs. swelling that moved gently on the breeze from a nearby window or from a passing person.

Kim grew up in South Korea and worked as a jewelry designer before moving to the UK in 2012 and being wowed by flowers. Her light bulb moment occurred during a winter visit to the Chelsea Physics Garden.

“I fell in love with the English Winter Garden that day – because we don’t have one in Korea,” she says. “With us, winter is all white. I had a real shock with these beautiful bare trees, all the plant fronds and hydrangeas – especially hydrangeas.

She converted to a florist and is now part of a growing cohort of florists who draw inspiration from ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, creating sculptural displays that are a world apart from flower arrangements. more Westerners who have, in various styles, dominated in recent decades.

Even if you are not familiar with ikebana, it is very likely that you have felt its influence in the precise arrangements of artfully placed branches, the ethereal installations of cloud-like flowers, and the minimalist displays that have been scattered across social media, store windows and interior magazine pages for the past two years.

Although it is a diverse school, with no definitive style or set of rules, its guiding principles have rang with a new generation of florists who share the deeply thoughtful and highly stylized approach to ikebana, its sense of l harmony, its repulsive embrace of different mediums. but, perhaps above all, his respect for the natural world.


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