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Cloud vision

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 08:03

New forms of environment are being created that merge the natural and man made, enabling a unique marriage of architecture and nature. We call this Exterior Design, a blanket term that combines architecture, landscape design, gardens, interior connections and outdoor sculpture and installations under one roof. Over the years we are finding our designs and approach to projects gravitating more and more towards harmonising the manufactured and nature, but also challenging our pre-conceptions of it too.

Sou Fujimoto is a huge inspiration to us, currently as the leading light in a new generation of artists who are reinventing our relationship with the built environment and landscapes: both country and urban.

Fujimoto’s designs inhabit a space between nature and imitation, clearly structured by organic dwellings like nests, caves and forests. Concepts are manipulated and molded into spaces that allow inhabitants or visitors entirely new experiences and new ways of connecting with the outdoors. There are not really any outdoors with Fujimoto – the boundaries between inside and out are blurred, blended and bended.

Sou Fujimoto has designed this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, opened to the public this weekend. At 41 he is the youngest architect to attain this much sought after commission.

The Serpentine Gallery’s architectural program sees a new temporary outdoor structure built every year by June for a four-month tenure in London’s Kensington Gardens.

Fujimoto’s aim was not to create a building but to create a place. An “architectural garden”.

In keeping with a large portion of his projects Fujimoto has again adopted a cloud like form for the Pavilion. In this case a delicate lattice like structure in white-coated steel forming a semi-transparent irregular ring that protects visitors from the elements. This cloud-like transparency also allows them to remain and feel connected to parts of the surrounding landscape.

He has created a geometric cloud-shaped form that appears to rise like a mist over the undulations of the park. All vantage points have been considered; internally and from afar and the result is a multi-purpose social space with people suspended in it.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion inhabits 350 square metres of park. In Fujimoto’s words “For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact and explore the site in diverse ways.”

Sou Fujimoto always designs houses and places to function on multi-purpose levels. The absence of walls in some spaces and the inclusion of them in other unexpected ones creates a strangely harmonious coexistence of order & disorder throughout his work. Truly inspirational.

Blown off the same cloud

On trend: Other designers & artists that are exploring cloud forms, either by capturing them or capturing us within them.

Leandro Erlich’s Single cloud collection.

Nimbus Berndnaut Smilde

Sustainable house by GLR Architects, Gilberto L. Rodriguez

Cloud constellation By Nathan Sawaya from the ‘In Pieces’ Exhibit.

Yes it’s lego.

Cloud people

Meteoros by Lucy and Jorge Orta hangs above London St Pancras Station.

Installation performance art by Caitland Brown and Wayne Garrett.

“What happens when a five year old, an 85 year old and an intoxicated twenty year old stumble upon a Cloud made of over six thousand light bulbs? Interaction ensues and a performance is born.”

Clouded vision

The much controversial MVRDV’s ‘The Cloud’.  Artists impression pictured above, designed back in 2011. When the Dutch architects firm designed the connected twin towers for South Korea they experienced a vitriolic backlash from some American camps that viewed it as a re-animation of 9/11 despite the cultural divide. After personal death threats to individuals in the design team and a realisation of the genuine distress this concept was resonating with another culture (one which they had not considered in their design processes) MVRDV went back to the drawing board. Shame. It could have been beautiful but is understandably too close for comfort in our contemporary culture.

The Insiders

William Forsythe

and to be inside a cloud whilst safely anchored in historical architecture... could it feel like this?

or does it just feel like being at a big old party?

Head in the Clouds

Jaume Plensa

Silver linings


Ahhh the very lovely Guiness commercial...

Ever wandered as lonely as a cloud?

Some say that every silver lining has a cloud...

Sorry for all the puns but we had to roll with it! (resist, resist the rolling clouds one...)

Are you feeling on cloud nine yet?

Here's to a very sunny Summer with not too many clouds, just the right amount.

Cloud vision image Sourcebook: Iwan, Arch daily, Bingbang Pouf, Design boom, Peta Pixel, Abitare, Daily Mail, Architects journal, Dezeen, We heart it, Home dsgn, Design inspiration, Doug Wong, Guiness, Lonely Cloud wordpress, HC Gardens.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 19:41

Woebegone: Is this the saddest flower you have ever seen? It just about broke our hearts when we photographed it. It sort of sums up the glumness of this Spring so far here in the UK - what with arctic winds today (!) and literally no sunshine this week. (This image has not been doctored or photoshoped... it really is this miserable). With our web servers struggling with technical problems we can't post the big blog planned today either. (... typing this frantically in case it crashes again!)

Well it's not all been doom and gloom. We have been photographing all of our new gardens and landscapes projects in May ready for our new portfolio launch.

We also have an article out in the Oxford Times Homes & Gardens this week all about making your Front of house and garden exceptionally stylish. You can look it over here next week if you are not local to pick up a copy.

Well here's to a lovely extended BH weekend and some sunshine please. We are still waiting on Pimms o'clock to happen this year.

Images: Hendy Curzon Gardens, Nature's best, Pimms

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Floral Engineers

Friday, May 17, 2013 - 12:17

There are artists using plants and flowers as their medium and who are challenging our notions of floral ‘arranging’ and design. These are the new wave, at the cutting edge of floral artistry. These are the Floral Engineers and they are yielding exciting results as they harness nature and manipulate cut flowers in to the architecture of their designs.

We have featured fashion's favourite Thierry Boutemy both in our Floral Couture & Flowerland blogs. Now we bring you two more Floral Engineers.

Makoto Azuma, owner of Jardins des Fleurs now located in Minamiaoyama, Tokyo exhibits his pieces internationally, but his shop still sustains the essence of his craft and his ethos that flowers are gifts and should be treated accordingly.

Makoto Azuma’s ‘shop’ somewhat resembles a laboratory yet it doesn’t render his processes clinical. It seems to emanate the ultimate in care and respect for nature.

Makoto Azuma says “Ultimately I have respect for plants. Plants can lead me, and vice versa. I believe I should be at the same place in the same direction as plants are. Also I’ve been managing a field for growing seasonal flowers and plants for 4 years. I think it’s very important to grow plants. Of course I do create works using the plants I grow. I think a great deal about the distance between plants and myself. I want to accept plants and want plants to accept me. So I’ve been farming as a spiritual place to train myself.”

Here are a selection of Azuma’s creations and exhibitions from his career so far as he continues his forays into experimental botany and blurs the boundaries between art and science.

Daniel Ost, the second Floral Engineer we have been exploring has a floral emporium located on the Rue Royale in Belgium. Ost’s exuberant arrangements and installations often appear other wordly as if they have ‘landed’ on our planet and subverted nature.

Ost has been nicknamed The Bridge for his ability to blend Eastern and Western styles and sensibilities throughout his international exhibitions.

Ost says “In the West we use flowers in a purely decorative way, but in Japan they work with the flowers’ soul to express not just beauty but ideas like death”, hence his recent interest in the decay of plants as he himself grows older.

Ost regards himself as a bloembinder, derived from an old Flemish word. Ost says “It’s a word that’s hard to translate. It refers to what you do to bind flowers together, but it’s not like ‘florist’ in English of ‘fleuriste’ in French. It’s much more beautiful than that.”

As the Flower show season opens up here in the UK heralding the start of Summer, we will continue to bring you new innovations both in Landsculpting and Floral engineering.

The Floral Engineers SourceBook: NY Times Makoto Azuma, Colossol, Thierry Boutemy, Park and Cube, Shift, Sky my Limit, Trender, Hc Gardens, Klaus Leidorf, Ziplevel, Jardins des Fleurs, Botanemy.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 11:44

As April failed to bring us any blossom or indeed any signs of Spring (at all) we refused to be disheartened. The focus shifted instead to bringing the outside in again, planning Cut flower gardens for the upcoming seasons and engineering some powerful arrangements. We wrote for the Oxford Times Homes & Gardens themed Alice in Wonderland issue, talking about making it vintage and therefore on trend. Liz Nicholls did an amazing job of bringing inside and out together and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. It's all about striking a balance between modern style and upholding our heritage.

The start of May has kindly brought the sunshine with it and somehow a promise of a fine month ahead. Every where you look the landscape is 'greening up', and it feels quite magical.  We have gathered up all of our inspirations from the last four weeks and are kicking off a season of flowerpower here. This week... welcome to Flowerland.

Jo Malone...bloomin' beautiful. They never fail to deliver, year after year they push the boundaries and delight with innovation. Looking forward to this year's Spring & Summer surprises from them. 

From a Hendy Curzon Cut flower garden

In season - the much coveted Wisteria tunnels of Japan

ahh... bliss in France

A mini moss meadow - Hendy Curzon Gardens Ox Times Flowerland shoot

Marqueyssac-chandelles - okay there's no flowers but it's in theme!

Nail gardens by Alice Bartlett

Mid month we took part in the Spirit of Flowers workshop taught by Charlie of the Flower Fairies who create stunning wedding flowers. It was a brilliant day and for a worthy cause. The creations ranged from super sharp contemporary to vintage chic. The flowers were breathtaking. There is a link to The Flower Fairies at the end of this blog. Money was raised for Vision Rescue who are doing some amazing work for thousands of children in Mumbai and there is also a link at the end to their website to learn more about what they do.

 We are looking forward to sharing the launch of our new portfolio online very soon. We have created some big landscapes and hopefully magical garden spaces and places... with a little help from our very own resident office Cheshire cat.

We look forward to bringing you the ultimate in Floral engineering from around the world next week...

Enjoy the first weekend of May and don't forget to water your garden!

The Flowerland Source Book:  Hendy Curzon Gardens, Thierry Boutemy, Anna Garforth, Jo Malone, Marqueyssac-chandelles, Cochran Andrea, Esther Glumace, Makota azuma,, Lostateminor, Boredpanda, Styleinception, Oxford Times, The Flower Fairies, Vision Rescue.

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Strike a posy : Floral Couture

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 21:17

Well the big chill is truly upon us this week here in the UK. Spring was just around the corner… wasn’t it? We remain ever hopeful as we reach for our thermal socks instead of our flip-flops. We have rounded up some floral couture inspiration for the blog this week in hope that it gets us all a buzzing about again, like busy little creative bees, as we should so rightfully be at this time of year.

Bee on lips for Vogue 1995, Photographer Irving Penn

The margins between lifestyle, design, art, interiors, nature, architecture and fashion are narrowing, as one and the other influence each other. Fashion houses are trending towards statement interiors, homewares are replicating catwalk fashions and so on. Nature has always had its influences over design and fashion but this Spring it seems like everybody is thinking about bringing the outside in. Editorials, catwalks and advertisements are just bursting with blossom. In this post we bring you the very best and most innovative of floral couture, both past and present. 

Spring IS coming…

Vogue Russia

Vanessa Paradis photographed for H&M Spring 2013 collection

Danil Golovkin for Collezioni 

Naomi Watts  for Vogue Australia

Wonderland series by Kirsty Mitchell

Twiggy Vogue 1967, Photographer Richard Avedon

 by Mattijs Van Bergen, fashion designer & Anouk Vogel, landscape architect
Vogue Italia

Marilyn Monroe for Vogue 1962, Photog. Bert Stern. Her last sitting.

Taylor Swift Teen Vogue 2011

Oh miss flower shoot Photog. Bo-Lee for Vogue Korea 2010

Arizona muse by Inez & Vinoodh Vogue Paris 2011

Dior haute couture set by Mark Colle. A million flowers... more on that later.

Photog. Irving Penn, fashion photographer

Photog. Patrick Demarchelier

Savage beauty, floral couture dress by Alexander McQueen

in to the blue


Kirsty Mitchell Wonderland Series to date, 2013

Colour Crash

 Alice Burdeu Vogue Australia by Floral Tribute photographer Troyt Coburn

Yulia Gorbachenko NY photo Fashion

Carolyn Murphy for Vogue US 2013

Suresh Natarajan for Vogue beauty


Hot house flowers

Givenchy’s ‘Victorian Rose Punk’ heads photo Victoria Will

Irving Penn for Vogue


 Kati Nescher, Photog. by Camilla Akrans for Vogue Germany

 seeing red

Photog. Tim Walker for Vogue UK

Garden of Delights shoot Vogue US,  Photog. Steven Meisel

Irving Penn

Harpers Bazaar Floral Shoot, Photog. Mark Seliger

Photog. Mario Testino for Vogue US

dress green


Haute Culture for How to Spend it 2012, Photog. Damien Fox

Moss collar by Tara Boooth Mooney centre for sustainable fashion at the London college of fashion

Oscar de la renta Vogue UK collection for Balmain. Photog. Peter Lindbergh

Photog. Steven Meisel

Lady Gaga Vogue US 2011, Photog. Mario Testino. Wearing Alexander McQueen. Floral artistry Thierry Boutemy

Tye Sokkvan in Burberry for Vulture 2013. Photog. Lester Lai. Floral artist Dan Takeda

Floral Couture by Alexander McQueen

Feel a little bit of a hop, skip and a jump coming on yet? Maybe a roly-poly down a hill or a prance through a meadow perhaps? If you are not feeling the spring in your step just yet then maybe this last blast of inspiration might help...

spring greens

Garden of Delights shoot for Vogue US. Photog. Steven Meisel

Runway 2013 by Raf Simons for Christian Dior

Chanel's Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture collection Paris

Takaya Hanayuishi male Floral Couture

Lee Jong Hyun for Vogue Girl Korea 2012

by Mattijs Van Bergen, fashion designer & Anouk Vogel, landscape architect

Yardley campaigne by London based artist & polymath Petra Storrs Art Director

strike a posy

Madonna for Louis Vuitton. Photog. Steven Meisel

Well it seems like Madge got in on the act some time ago...

Madge sourced from Fashion limbo

Well that's it. We hope you liked this post. We are in the Oxford Times Homes & Gardens section again this week so if you are local make sure you pick up a copy. Liz Nicholls has had a lot of fun with this month's issue and it will inspire you if you love interiors and garden design. (We particularly like the cover this month). We have been talking to Liz about... well, you'll just have to wait and see. The good news is that it will be availble in e-version via Twitter, The Oxford Times and us tomorrow.

We hope all this Spring fervor and inspiration hasn't gone to your heads!

Buxus head- Oleksandr Hnatenko

& as promised... Dior haute couture set by Mark Colle. A million flowers...

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