27 October 2021
A FLOATING PERFORMANCE
At London Flower School, we believe floristry is a powerful vehicle for creative expression. Our students are encouraged to view the techniques they are taught as doorways opening on to a world of imagination and endless possibilities, bringing their own unique vision to their floral arrangements.
This philosophy lets practitioners pluck inspiration from beyond the visually immediate. Creativity does not dwell in any one time or place: past, present, future, folklore, and fairytale are just some of the themes, along with the history and geography of the space itself - these all inform our work.
In November 2020 we combined all of these themes to create a dynamic floral sculpture for the opening of NoMad’s new hotel located in Covent Garden, London. Just as community is at the heart of NoMad’s ethos, education is at the heart of our own. For this reason, we incorporated the construction of this installation into the November Career Course’s curriculum, providing our students with an insight into how to develop a concept from initial idea into grand reality. We demonstrated how we draw inspiration from the world beyond floristry, translating abstract concepts into a tangible aesthetic through the medium of flowers.
A DREAM OF COVENT GARDEN'S PAST
NoMad has a deep connection to the arts that infuses every element of their design. This ethos is at the heart of the brand’s ambition to embody a “stomping ground for creative people” at all of its locations, envisioning their hotels as “grand homes” in which artful lives are lived. Its spirit is the collective soul of the community that inhabits it. Our creation of a “floating performance” grounded in the history of an iconic landmark drew that spirit into the physical reality of Covent Garden, celebrating the rich narratives that lie in its past, bringing them to life in the present.
When the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II, it became the permanent home for the opera and ballet companies now known as The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. It was the ballet company which reopened the building on 20 February 1946 with the Royal Ballet’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty. The reawakening of Aurora therefore echoed the preparations in place for the opening of NoMad London which sits opposite this iconic building in Covent Garden.
As in Act 111 of Tchaikovsky's ballet, a celebration was therefore required. Thus we drew on this traditional Brothers Grimm fairytale of good prevailing over evil, channelling a sense of fantasy and escapism after a turbulent year. This rendering of the ballet performance themes into an aesthetic, enlivened Covent Garden's present with the spirit of its past, but also celebrated its future.
TRANSLATING THE ABSTRACT TO THE VISUAL
Our design is deeply informed by the realities of the space from which it draws its inspiration. The Royal Opera House features grand arched architecture that hearkens back to its previous existence as a flower market, long before Covent Garden became a cultural centre for theatre, dining and the arts. The architecture of the Royal Opera House resonates with the spirit of London’s vibrant and colourful past, and was a powerful source of inspiration for us when creating the installation.
The tulle of the ballet dancers' tutus in Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty provided direction in terms of the shape for the 'floating performance': the twirls created, mirroring the shape of ballerinas dancing. The flower garlands in the flower waltz of the ballet were also reflected in the dry florals of the floating piece too, bringing a sense of movement to the installation and ultimately, awakening Aurora from her 100 year sleep.
Photography and videography by Marcelo Deguchi.