While Michael takes a break from his travel blog, I am going to make a detour straight across to Numazu, Japan. Why? Because that’s where the Interflora Asia Cup was held last year. (The World Cup is in Berlin this year; pack your bags!)
The Interflora Asia Cup is a renowned international design competition held once every three years and draws the most talented designers the floral industry has to offer. Sixteen participants were invited from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Denmark and the United States. The judging panel also has an international flavor with representatives coming from Japan, Korea, USA, Taiwan, Australia and China.
This grueling competition lasts three days and the contestants must create five designs including designs made live on stage in front of an audience and of course a bridal bouquet. They also must design and produce a major display in an isolated space with the theme of “Tea Time over an Exquisite Moment”. Pictured below is the entry from Yukinobu Inoue of the Japan. His dramatic and dynamic design took home second place. The Asian designers are masters of exquisite attention to detail. Each placement has a definite purpose. Notice the branch material that is seemingly floating above the “Tea”, each stem has been carefully pruned to the designer’s exact liking before being placed in the design. The curved Plexiglas focal point of the display appears to float beneath the table set for “Tea for Two” and provides both drama and the dynamic element of movement for the viewer.
The second major design theme was “Wind Streams of Asia”. The entry below by Hung Mo Joo from Korea is my favorite in this category. You can almost feel the swirling winds that are implied by the impeccably woven succulent vines combined with the concentric circles of dyed bamboo. The designer has created a very large display of major impact yet if you look at the floral product, it is minimal at best. You are able to see and appreciate each individual stem. I also love his use of color. While there are subtle hints of reds and yellows the major color influence is a complimentary color scheme comprised of the fresh green vines with the dyed orange bamboo, very effective!
The Interflora Asia Cup is always one of my favorite competitions because the Australasia region has such strong “floral cultures”. The tireless attention to detail the Asian designers exhibit with countless hours spent weaving, gluing and triming make their work stand out. No surprise the first three places went to three Japanese designers with first palce going to Akihiro Hisaka, second place went to Yukinobu Inoue and third place to Hideyuki Niwa. I love competitions as they force you to stetch your abilities and whether win or loose the result is always growth.