World tour 2018: 16 best destinations
The Milanese floral designer that turned flowers into a philosophy
Irene Cuzzaniti tells us about her floral philosophy, from a small flower shop in an old Milanese farm house
Irene Cuzzaniti at the Fioreria - the flower shop she founded back in 2015 at the Cascina Cuccagna in Milan. Image courtesy of Irene Cuzzaniti © Matteo Carassale
Founder of the shop-atelier Fioreria, situated within the spaces of the Cascina Cuccagna, in Milan, in her projects, the Italian landscape and flower designer Irene Cuzzaniti favours an abstract and minimal style, well in tune with the new international trends.
We met her at Six Gallery - the new hot place of Milan, of which she is a partner - to learn more about her creative approach and to discover her latest discoveries in the flower world.
A floral installation imagined by Irene Cuzzaniti at Six Gallery in Milan. Image courtesy of Irene Cuzzaniti
What are the main rules for a successful floral composition or floral installation?
I was trained as a garden and landscape designer. That is probably why, in my projects, I always start by observing and listening to the space. My conceptual research focuses on the balance of volumes and on the combination of different colours and textures - with the use of vegetal and non-vegetal materials. However what I like the most about my job is the making part: The hands-on work completes the idea, it renders it concrete and real.
Your last book Fatti il Mazzo! aims at spreading floral design among the larger public. An educative approach that you also encourage through the series of creative workshops that you organise. How is the pedagogical aspect important to your projects?
I think that it is really important to have fun in life, and consequently in your work. What I care about makes people happy, it is deeply healthy and that is why it brings me a lot of joy to share it. I believe that looking at things with fresh eyes always lead to interesting experiences. So, in the book, I tried to transmit the message that the process is more important than the final result. Because aesthetic criteria are very personal and debatable, but the process really allows us to explore ourselves.
Cuzzaniti’s floral approach encourages process over result. Image courtesy of Irene Cuzzaniti © Marco Scotuzzi
From table gardens to kokedama and ikebana, through your workshops at the Fioreria, you have been introducing many Japanese techniques to the Milanese green scene. Where does this passion come from?
I have great respect for Asian cultures in general: I find them deep and I would say 'humanistic'. The Japanese have an intense and very rich relationship with Nature, a sensitivity towards natural phenomena which, for us, is mainly unknown and extraordinary. I often find myself in tune with their vision and above all with their aesthetics: the delicacy expressed by the use of little material, the strength of the forms, the care of every aesthetic and historical aspect.
Inspired by Japanese traditions, the designer’s projects emphasise minimalism and shape. Image courtesy of Irene Cuzzaniti
Where do you find your inspiration?
I would not talk about inspiration but about contamination. Every day something catches my attention and strikes me.
Which trends do you currently see in the plants/flowers business? Which are your latest floral discoveries?
I constantly discover colleagues around the world thanks - above all - to Instagram. I find that we can get to know some interesting professionals a moment before they become famous and crystallize in their style. Lately, I have been looking at the US, and at New York in particular, where a new style - very different from the opulence of the traditional one - is blooming. I also follow several Australians, such as MetaFlora, brrch, doctor cooper, looseleaf e buds & bowers. And, of course, I do not neglect the French and the Japanese scenes, which remain a great source of contamination!
Some of the floral arrangements realised by the Milanese designer. Image courtesy of Irene Cuzzaniti
Do you feel a change in the flower industry since you started working in this field?
In Italy, we are at the dawn of the slow flowers movement. Flowers are indeed in fashion but are still far from our daily life, relegated to the sphere of superfluous and special occasions. There is very little consciousness regarding their origin. The same applies to plants and it seems to me that the whole critical process is rather slow. Personally, I try to buy only Italian products and mostly from local companies. I also prefer to go shopping more often and for smaller quantities. Moreover, when I can, I pick or cultivate myself the materials that I need.
What is the best recipe to launch a new flower trend?
Do not take yourself too seriously and do not look for any trends. And when you have a good intuition concentrate on constancy and communication: They are very important, otherwise the trend does not start!
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