Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging, differs from the techniques employed in making the classic Western bouquet in a few subtle, but important, ways. An emphasis on minimal, suggestive lines sets it apart from the effusive fullness of, say, the flowers we see in a Dutch still life. Important also is the muted use of color — ikebana arrangements often feature only one dominant hue, stressing sparse contrast over riotous intensity, and making extensive use of the non-flowering parts of plants to do so. Another essential characteristic is the integration of the container with the plants themselves in the overall presentation. The following collaborations between flower artist Marisa Competello and design studio Architecture at Large push this notion to a new extreme, linking flower, vessel, and the surrounding space. The four compositions correspond to four seasonal moods, thereby underscoring the transitory temporality of utterly beautiful things.

SPRING Gomphocarpus physocarpus pods, also known as bishop’s balls, creep onto blossoming quince branches, announcing mortality and rebirth. Notes: hyacinth, floralozone, bay laurel, vetiver, and civet. 
SUMMER In a gesture of garish exuberance, a structure of zig-zagging horsetail stems is spiked with a pre-bloom bromeliad and the fleshy spadix of a single red anthurium. Notes: pink pepper, papyrus, gelsol, strawberry aldehyde, and hiba wood.
FALL Like a series of soupirs before the onset of obscurity, a stem of foxtail wistfully presides over a Scabiosa pod, a lady-slipper orchid, and a series of cordata petals, incrementally diminishing in size. Notes: cyclamen hydrosol, bergamot, saffron, rose, papaya, and leather.
WINTER Both festive and funereal, three black calla lilies are joined by metallic-coated branches with datura seed pods, emerging from a mysteriously bashful sphere of white pine. Notes: black-tea CO2 extraction, Douglas-fir heart, enfleurage of narcissus jonquil, and eucalyptus. All captions by Régime des Fleurs.

Photography by Naho Kubota. Flower arrangements by Marisa Competello of Metaflora. Digital backgrounds by Architecture at Large. Introduction by Maxwell Donnewald. Captions by Régime des Fleurs.

Taken from PIN–UP 20, Spring Summer 2016.